The Danger of Background TV for Babies and Toddlers

Updated: Feb 12



Want to optimize your baby’s brain development? Then keep the TV off!

Research has shown that when the TV is on in the background it can negatively affect a young child’s brain development.1 How? Because the most important factor in increasing mental ability and making neural connections in young children is for parents to talk frequently to their child. Parents need to sing, read, tell stories, and basically talk about everything that is going on.2


But when the TV is on in the background, parents aren’t doing much talking. Research has found that when the TV is off, a caregiver will speak an average of 940 words per hour if a toddler is around. However, if the TV is on in the background, the caregiver only speaks about 170 words per hour.3


The conclusion is the more parents talk to their child, the better and stronger neural connections their child will have. The less parents talk, the less their child develops mental ability.4In addition, research has found that when the TV is on in the background, children were less likely to focus on their hands-on play.5 That’s why The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not having the TV on in the background if you have young preschoolers. To learn how to optimize your child’s brain development, get Proactive Discipline: A Parent’s Guide by Katie Ely.


References:

1. Hill, D. (2016, October 21). “Why to Avoid TV for Infants & Toddlers.” Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/Why-to-Avoid-TV-Before-Age-2.aspx

2. Healy, J. M. (1990). Endangered Minds: Why Our Children Don't Think (p. 91). New York: Simon and Schuster.

3. Hill, D. (2016, October 21). “Why to Avoid TV for Infants & Toddlers.” Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/Why-to-Avoid-TV-Before-Age-2.aspx

4. Hill, D. (2016, October 21). “Why to Avoid TV for Infants & Toddlers.” Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/Why-to-Avoid-TV-Before-Age-2.aspx

5. Schmidt ME, Pempek TA, Kirkorian HL, et al. (2008) “The Effects of Background Television on the Toy Play Behavior of Very Young Children.” Child Development. 2008. 79: 1137-1151.


Other Resources:

1. The Urban Child Institute. (2016, April 4). “Infants, Toddlers and Television.” Retrieved from http://www.urbanchildinstitute.org/articles/policy-briefs/infants-toddlers-and-television

2. The American Academy of Pediatrics. (2016, November). “Media and Young Minds.” Retrieved from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/138/5/e20162591

3. The American Academy of Pediatrics. (2016, October 21). “American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Recommendations for Children’s Media Use. Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-Announces-New-Recommendations-for-Childrens-Media-Use.aspx

4. The American Academy of Pediatrics. (2018, May 1). “Children and Media Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.” Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Children-and-Media-Tips.aspx




Learn how to get your children to clean their rooms and help around the house with Rubric Rules: A Cleaning System for Kids.A

“Train up a child in the way he should go, 

and when he is old he will not depart from it."

Proverbs 22:6​

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