Bloomberg News

No TV for 2-Year-Olds Because It Slows Learning, Doctors Say

October 18, 2011

Oct. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Children under the age of two shouldn’t watch television or videos because studies suggest it may delay their development, including the ability to talk, according to a group of pediatricians.

The advice that no children under two should watch a screen was issued first issued in 1999 by the American Academy of Pediatricians. Today, the group, which is meeting in Boston, reiterated its recommendations based on the introduction of numerous screen devices and a decade’s worth of new studies on the negative effects of TV on learning, thinking, language skills, mood and behavior.

Children learn more from play and interaction with people, the doctors said. Further, parents who watch their own programs while a child is around may be distracted, and that detracts from play and activities that are key to a child’s development. Parents should avoid placing a television set in their children’s bedrooms, and be aware that their own media use may have a negative effect on their children, the group said.

“The concerns raised in the original policy statement are even more relevant now, which led us to develop a more comprehensive piece of guidance around this age group,” said Ari Brown, in a statement released by the doctor group today. The policy statement will be published in the November 2011 issue of the journal Pediatrics.

The recommendations add data showing that TV viewing around bedtime causes poor sleep and that young children with “heavy media use” are at risk for language delays once they start school.

Findings also have shown that video programs marketed as “educational” for infants and toddlers aren’t backed by evidence to support that claim, the doctor group said.

--Editors: Angela Zimm, Chris Staiti

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Lopatto in New York at elopatto@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net.


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