Pediatricians to Parents: No TV Under 2

If this sounds familiar, it’s because the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a similar report back in 1999, but now there are dozens more studies to support the recommendation: Media exposure has potential negative effects and no positive effects in children under 2 years. The jury’s in, and the evidence shows that screen watching can hinder brain development, especially in toddlers.

Looking for a silver lining? The report is only geared toward passive activities like watching TV. Video games and interactive apps on smart phones may still be okay, though data on the value of iPad use for one-year-olds is in its infancy.

Even DVDs aimed at young children and television playing in the background has been found to distract these little guys from their real job — active play. We’re all guilty of plopping our kids down in front of a screen now and then, but playing with kids and talking to them is what’s important for growth and development.

Here’s a number that may shock you: Approximately 30% of American 3-year-olds have TVs in their bedrooms. Really?

Bottom line — ignore the inflated claims of infant video companies, unplug the idiot box  and get down on the floor and play!

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.


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