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Babies and toddlers should learn from play, not screens
Date:10/17/2011

at various types of stimulation and activities have on this process.

"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 Dr. Brown, a member of the AAP Council on Communications and Media.

The report set out to answer two questions:

  • Do video and televised programs have any educational value for children under 2?
  • Is there any harm in children this age watching these programs?

The key findings include:

  • Many video programs for infants and toddlers are marketed as "educational," yet evidence does not support this. Quality programs are educational for children only if they understand the content and context of the video. Studies consistently find that children over 2 typically have this understanding.
  • Unstructured play time is more valuable for the developing brain than electronic media. Children learn to think creatively, problem solve, and develop reasoning and motor skills at early ages through unstructured, unplugged play. Free play also teaches them how to entertain themselves.
  • Young children learn best from -- and need -- interaction with humans, not screens.
  • Parents who watch TV or videos with their child may add to the child's understanding, but children learn more from live presentations than from televised ones.
  • When parents are watching their own programs, this is "background media" for their children. It distracts the parent and decreases parent-child interaction. Its presence may also interfere with a young child's learning from play and activities.
  • Television viewing around bedtime can cause poor sleep habits and irregular sleep schedules, which can adversely affect mood, behavior and learning.
  • Young children with heavy media use are at risk for delays in language development once they start school, but more research i
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Contact: Susan Martin
ssmartin@aap.org
847-434-7131
American Academy of Pediatrics
Source:Eurekalert

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