Limiting screen time for 0-24 month-olds has been recommended for some time. It has seemed pretty clear that the more time babies spend sitting in front of the screen, the more their social, cognitive and language development suffer. TV and DVD viewing tends to decrease babies' likelihood of learning new words, talking, playing and otherwise interacting with others. Now scientists are not only understanding why this is so, but using quantitative research to prove it.
A new study by Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a University of Washington pediatrician suggests that television impedes learning by inhibiting interaction. When the TV is on in the house, babies and their caregivers are distracted, which limits their exchanges. Chistakis found that regardless of what is playing on the screen — whether it's baby-friendly content or shows for adults — television is by nature a passive medium that hampers social interaction. Even when caregivers and children interact actively while watching TV together, the net effect of having it turned on is a drop in interactive sounds - talking to one another.
The Island County Children's Commission has identified "TV on in the home" as crucial problem in providing healthy early learning environments for young children. Turn it off. Read a book or play together. Better yet, come to the library and check out some great picture books to share with your baby. Preschool computers at the library are for children ages 3 and up.