How young is too young to watch TV? The Week reports that researchers at the University of Washington have found that television watching decreases verbal interaction between adults and children, interaction that is crucial to brain development. The study found that for every hour the television was on, adults spoke from 500 to 1,000 fewer words to their children. This was true even if the TV was only background noise.
Ever since Teletubbies first sashayed into American homes over a decade ago, we’ve witnessed a steadily growing market of DVDs and so-called educational products aimed at getting toddlers and babies to watch television. But, while criticism of shows like Teletubbies has been limited to Jerry Falwell’s “outing” Tinky Winky, the larger question of the effects of early childhood exposure to TV has remained controversial.
Critics contend that television contributes to desensitization, lower attention spans, and poor cognitive development, while proponents claim that it all depends on the types of shows kids watch and the amount of exposure. They argue, for example, that shows like Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer teach children valuable lessons about culture and language. And now products like Baby Einstein claim that television-watching is beneficial for children as young as infants.
Source: The Week