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Letting infants watch TV can do more harm than good says wide-ranging international review
Date:1/13/2009

families published in 2007 said they let their infants watch TV because they thought it was "good for their brains". But claims made by manufacturers are not substantiated by peer-reviewed medical papers and industry studies.
  • Watching TV programmes or DVDs aimed at infants can actually delay language development, according to a number of studies. For example, a 2008 Thai study published in Acta Paediatrica found that if children under 12 months watched TV for more than two hours a day they were six times more likely to have delayed language skills. Another study found that children who watched baby DVDs between seven and 16 months knew fewer words than children who did not.
  • Infants as young as 14 months will imitate what they see on a TV screen, but they learn better from live presentations. For example, one study found that children learnt Mandarin Chinese better from a native speaker than they did from a video of the same speaker.
  • A study of 1,300 children conducted by the author and colleagues in 2004 found a modest association between TV viewing before the age of three and attentional problems at the age of seven, after a wide range of other factors were ruled out.
  • In another study, the author and colleagues looked at the effects of early TV viewing on cognitive development at school age. They found that children who had watched a lot of TV in their early years did not perform as well when they underwent tests to check their reading and memory skills.
  • More than one in five parents who took part in another study said that they got their infants to watch TV when they needed time to themselves. This, says the author, is an understandable and realistic need, but not one that should be actively promoted.
  • But why does television have such a negative effect on children of this age? "We believe that one reason is the fact that it exposes children to flashing lights, scene ch
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    Contact: Annette Whibley
    wizard.media@virgin.net
    Wiley-Blackwell
    Source:Eurekalert

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