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TV viewing before the age of 2 has no cognitive benefit, study finds
Date:3/1/2009

Boston, Mass. -- A longitudinal study of infants from birth to age 3 showed TV viewing before the age of 2 does not improve a child's language and visual motor skills, according to research conducted at Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School. The findings, published in the March issue of Pediatrics, reaffirm current guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that recommend no television under the age of 2, and suggest that maternal, child, and household characteristics are more influential in a child's cognitive development.

"Contrary to marketing claims and some parents' perception that television viewing is beneficial to children's brain development, no evidence of such benefit was found," says Marie Evans Schmidt, PhD, lead author of the study.

The study analyzed data of 872 children from Project Viva, a prospective cohort study of mothers and their children. In-person visits with both mothers and infants were performed immediately after birth, at 6 months, and 3 years of age while mothers completed mail-in questionnaires regarding their child's TV viewing habits when they were 1 and 2 years old. It was conducted by researchers in the Center on Media and Child Health at Children's and the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

The study is the first to investigate the long term associations between infant TV viewing from birth to 2 years old and both language and visual-motor skill test scores at 3 years of age. These were calculated using the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test III (PPVT III) and Wide-Range Assessment of Visual Motor Abilities (WRAVMA) test. The PPVT measures receptive vocabulary and is correlated with IQ, while WRAVMA tests for visual motor, visual spatial, and fine motor skills.

The researchers controlled for sociodemographic and environmental factors known to contribute to an infants' cognitive developmen
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Contact: James Newton
james.newton@childrens.harvard.edu
617-919-3110
Children's Hospital Boston
Source:Eurekalert

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