Protect your baby’s brain

Don’t put her in front of the TV


"Teletubbies" is marketed as being good for babies' development but there is no research to support the claim.

Like any good parent, you want to do the best you can to help your baby grow and develop. Right?

So why would you ever put your baby in front of a television?

Despite the fact that many studies have found that screen time—be it TV, DVD or video—is bad for a baby’s brain development, more families are bringing home Baby Einstein DVDs or watching "Teletubbies" on TV or using "Sesame Street Baby" on the computer.

A 2003 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 43 percent of children under 2 watch TV every day, and 26 percent have a TV in their bedroom.

Yet, for more than seven years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended zero screen time for children ages 2 and under. One recent study has even linked television watching at an early age to an increase in attention problems later in childhood.

It’s simple. "Too much television can negatively affect early brain development," according to the academy. It can also mean children are less likely to grow up to be readers or to be physically active.

So why do people put their babies in front of the TV? Because there is money to be made, says Susan Linn, of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. The infant-toddler set is one of the fastest growing areas of sales for children’s videos and DVDs.

Companies tell parents if you care about your baby, you will buy this DVD or that video. And parents do. It is why a show such as "Teletubbies" was successful. The show’s creators marketed it to parents as being great for a child’s development—without any research to back up the claim, says Linn.

Research has also proven that the best thing for a child to watch is his or her parent’s face. And the time babies need is in front of a parent, not in front of a screen.

Susy Schultz


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