American Pediatric Association Warns against TV for Young Children

If you have very young children, under the age of four, spending too time in front of the television can be harmful for their developmental health. Although experts have in the past warned parents of the dangers, the American Pediatric Association issued a new warning this week. The New York Times reported on the story, stating:

‘The new report strongly warns parents against putting a TV in a very young child’s room and advises them to be mindful of how much their own use of media is distracting from playtime. In some surveys between 40 and 60 percent of households report having a TV on for much of the day — which distracts both children and adults, research suggests.”

The APA had issued a previous warning in 1999 which was much more severe. The first warning recommended that parents ban television completely for young children, and that doctors record and monitor young children’s screen time. The latest warning is less drastic, and is an effort from the APA to be more realistic about the fact that screens in the 21st century are all but unavoidable.

Considering that young children learn much more quickly from interacting with people and objects in the physical world, too much television exposure can stunt their early learning. Of course, there are times when you may be too busy to constantly engage with your child, which makes having them view television an easy way to keep them entertained.

Still, if you have young kids, there are many other options for entertainment and education. One of the best options, I’ve found, is any activity that involves creation. Drawing or coloring, playing with Lego toys or other construction sets tend to keep young children engaged for hours. Telling stories and simple “make-believe” games like pretending to be a doctor or some other profession are also activities that are mentally stimulating and fun.

If your children must watch television, then ensure they are watching something is appropriate for their age group, shows that are educational and fun. Limit TV time to an half an hour or an hour at most per day, and avoid any screen time right before bed, as this can interfere with sleep cycles.

What have been your experiences with television and your children? Do you have set rules about allowing your children to watch TV?

By-line:

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031@gmail.com.

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