something to think about

this article

and this article

and this article

and this one

and this one

and this lawsuit

all have me feeling guilty and worried about letting the girls watch so much tv this summer and lately while i'm trying to manage a newborn.

if you don't want to read all the articles this one sums up all of them into one:
Parents might know that sitting children in front of the television for hours at a time isn’t the best way to encourage intellectual growth. But a new study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine shows that simply having the TV on in the background can stifle interaction between parent and child, decreasing the number of words spoken and possibly slowing the development of a baby’s language skills. Scientists have long suspected that TV viewing can damage early development. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding exposure to television before an infant is two years old, a period when important cognitive changes take place. “We’ve known that television exposure during infancy is associated with language delays and attentional problems, but so far it has remained unclear why,” said lead researcher Dimitri Christakis. The researchers investigated by attaching sensors to both parents and their children between the ages of two months and four years. On sporadic days over a period of a month, the sensors recorded every word spoken or heard by the subjects. If a television was on, words emanating from the TV were counted, although researchers did not differentiate between whether subjects were actively watching the tube, or just had it on in the background as they went about other tasks. This technology allowed Christakis’ team to quantify exactly the degree to which TV-viewing can cripple parent-child communication: for every hour a television was turned on, babies heard 770 fewer words from an adult, the new study found. Conversational exchanges between baby and parent dropped 15% , as did the overall number of vocalizations made by children. That’s important because previous research has shown that the more words children hear, the better they become at speaking. The exchange of fewer words, therefore, could potentially cause a deficit in language skills. The effects of background TV could be far-reaching, since researchers say that nearly a third of households in the U.S. keep the boob tube turned on all the time. “The newborn brain is very much a work in progress. All that cognitive stimulation is critical to the underlying architecture that’s developing,” [Christakis] says. “Every word that babies hear, and every time they hear it, is extremely important”.

we used to have a 1hr rule for the entire day. only 2 tv shows or an hour of a movie. that's it. for the entire day. but this last year, well, let's just say that curious george spends more than just the morning with them. but i'm sure glad i've never watched my own shows during the day. the tv for my entertainment doesn't turn on until they are snug in bed.

but now i want to just unplug it altogether. but it's cold outside and we are housebound here. and i don't have the energy to do more than a few crafts a week.

so what's a mother to do? because i can't help but think that having my children watching tv alive and well is better than no tv and want to throw them out the window.

and yes, mom, you were right. tv does turn your brain into cottage cheese.


my name is becky kelly said...

my kids get an increase in movies (we don't have "tv") when someone is sick, or when i have new babies (or when dad's in charge!). but i feel like because hunter asked his friend the other day "what's a video game" we're doing alright in the non-cottage-cheese-brain category, so in the tough times when tv is the only way to get them through the day alive.. by all means, let them watch.

Melanie said...

Really, I wouldn't worry about this right now if I were you. You're still in survival mode. Maybe it doesn't seem quite as desperate as the bed rest times, maybe it does, but we all know your girls do not have cottage cheese for brains and when you are no longer "needing" a movie or tv to survive, you won't use it.

Just try to get some sleep and love those girlies. :)

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