Parents have been saying it since the television set was invented, “if you watch that thing all day, it’s going to turn your brain into mush.” Well, according to a new study, television actually will turn your brain into mush – the study claims that watching TV stunts infant neurological development.
According to the new study, published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent medicine, babies who watch TV are more likely to have delayed cognitive development and language at fourteen months, especially if they’re watching programs intended for adults and older children. The kids the study followed all had scores in the normal range, but tots who watched sixty minutes or more of TV a day had developmental scores one third lower than their colleagues who watched less than that or none at all.
This new study followed 259 lower income families in New York, many of whom consider Spanish their primary language at home. Other studies examining higher income families have also come to the same conclusion: TV sets very young children back developmentally.
It may not be the TV itself that is reaching out and rotting your baby’s brain – infants who are “watching” television meant for adults and older siblings are not being played with and taught new things by the adults and older siblings who are almost certainly making these viewing choices.
Whatever the cause, this new data seems to back up the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that babies watch no TV at all until they are two years old.