Sometimes, she acknowledged, parents may have to use TV to entertain their child while they perform essential household chores. But, she said, when a child is in daycare, there are different expectations.
Briggs agreed. "When parents put children in early childcare, they're expecting that it will be an early learning opportunity. And if the TV is on in daycare, it's taking up time that should be so much better used," she said.
The current study included 255 daycare centers in Ohio. No in-home daycare providers were included in the study. The centers took care of children between infancy and 6 years old.
Overall, 177 (69 percent) of the daycares had a TV, and children watched TV an average of four times per month. Rates of TV exposure was highest (94 percent) at centers serving the oldest children (ages 3 to 6), and 10 percent of daycares had a "TV on in [the] background," the researchers noted.
Only 41 percent of the daycare centers surveyed met all of the AAP's TV viewing guidelines.
About half the time, the TV viewing was educational in nature or related to a class theme, the researchers noted, 30 percent of TV-time was on entertainment programs, while 20 percent was mixed education/entertainment viewing, according to the study.
The good news from this study: most (81 percent) of the daycare centers studied prohibited TV viewing for children under 2 years of age.
Centers that met all of the AAP guidelines were likely to be national chains, have national accreditation, have higher tuition and to have fewer children with subsidized tuition, reported the study.
The study also took a brief look at computer use in daycare. They found that 77 percent of centers used computers. Most -- 88 percent -- said they had a limit on computer time, and the average time spent on the computer was 17 minut
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