"Computers are a really new area that may be growing. I was surprised at how prevalent they were for this age group," said Copeland.
Copeland said that if parents are concerned about their young children's media use, the first step is to limit home use, and follow the AAP recommendations for less than two hours a day of total screen time.
If parents are shopping for daycare, she said that TV and computer use should be on their list of questions. And if your child is already in a daycare that uses a TV, discuss your concerns with the center's director. "Often, when parents are asking for something, the center will change. It is a business, and they want to keep your business," she said.
Of course, Briggs is also cognizant that some parents just don't have a lot of choices when it comes to daycare. Still, she said, it can't hurt for parents to make their preferences known, including sharing the AAP guidelines with the daycare staff and asking how often the television is used.
Because the study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, its findings should be considered preliminary.
For more on kids and TV, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics.
SOURCES: Kristen Copeland, M.D., assistant professor, pediatrics, division of General and Community Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Ohio; Rahil Briggs, Psy.D., director, Healthy Steps, Montefiore Medical Group, and assistant professor of pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; May 3, 2011 presentation, Pediatrics Academies Societies/Asian Society for Pediatric Research, Denver, Co.
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