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Television and Videos for Children Under 2 May Not Influence Skill Development

3/2/2009  

Exposing infants and toddlers to television does not improve their language and visual motor skills at age 3, but does not appear to harm them either.

In the study, “Television Viewing in Infancy and Child Cognition at 3 Years of Age in a US Cohort,” researchers looked at the amount of time 872 children spent watching television or videos from birth to 2 years of age, then assessed their language and visual motor skills at age 3. When researchers adjusted for other factors that could influence these skills, such as maternal education and breastfeeding, the effect of television appeared neutral. Contrary to many parents’ perception that television viewing is beneficial to their children’s brain development, the researchers found no evidence of such a benefit.

The authors point out that there are many potential benefits of limiting television exposure in children, including improved diet, lower risk of overweight, less exposure to violent content, and improved sleep quality.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.