Think plopping your toddler down in front of Dora The Explorer for a few hours a day is a harmless way to fit in some Mommy/Daddy quiet time? Think again, say some child development researchers. A study published Monday in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine suggests that two-year olds who watch the greatest amount of TV have more problems when they reach the age of 10, reports The Canadian Press. The study, which followed 1,300 children in Quebec, suggests that those who watched the most TV as toddlers performed poorly in math, consume more junk food and have a higher likelihood of being bullied by their peers later on.
In the CP report, Linda Pagani, a psychosocial professor at the University of Montreal, says that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids don’t watch any TV from birth to age two, and no more than two hours a day after that. Here’s the reason she gave:
"There’s only 24 hours in the day, and the early childhood period is a period of brain expansion…But that brain expansion occurs in the context of a lot of interaction with one’s environment – playing, talking, interacting, making intellectual effort – because your brain is like a muscle, and if you don’t use it, it’s less fit for more muscular activity later on."
Whether TV is OK for young children is a much-debated topic. But is it really that actual TV-watching that’s to blame for children’s behaviour later in life, of is too much TV-watching a symptom of something else? Could it be that children who watch hours and hours of the boob tube don’t get the same kind of one-on-one attention from their parents that other kids do? I think many of us can say that we personally know children who watched some TV as toddlers, but didn’t suffer the negative consequences outlined in this study. What do you think?