Is TV Watching Bad for Babies’ Brains?

10 Dec

I admit, every once in a while I do try to use the TV as a babysitter. This rarely ever works though! Mr. H watches the intro to “Yo Gabba Gabba!” and then he’s done. In times of dire need (like a long road trip) I do find that the only thing he will really watch is videos with children’s music videos. His favorite one is “The Wheels on the Bus” by the Bacon Brothers. (Thanks Omi!)

A recent article in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine finds that babies exposed to TV at 6 months had lower scores in cognitive testing. As little as 30 min a day resulted in lower scores (gasp!) and watching for more hours resulted in proportionally lower scores. My first thought was that maybe these babies who watched a lot of TV also had other family issues, but the authors adjusted for these factors and found the same results in both low and high income populations. They claim that watching TV prevents these children from participating in other activities which strengthen their brains.

So my take home message: Turn off the TV and play with your baby! But everything in moderation, we can’t be Superwomen! I think that women like me who have their baby in daycare have it much easier…it is those women who are at home all day with their babies (and are trying to do other things also) have a much harder time avoiding the TV. More power to you!


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