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You may not see it, but TV is affecting children

Though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 2 should NOT be exposed to ANY television, the research shows that infants between 2.5 months and 24 months are exposed to on average 120 minutes of television per day. What are the effects of TV exposure in young people? Does it help, hinder or contribute nothing towards their development? According to a growing body of research increased TV exposure is affecting the literacy, relationships and cognitive development of our young people. Recent research adds to this by showing that having a TV chattering away in the background affects young people?s attention span and takes away from focused play.

The study, published in the July/August Journal Child Development, shows that children as young as 12 months are distracted by the TV, even if the adult is watching it. The researchers found that when the TV was on young children spent half the time playing with a toy, than they usually would, before moving on to the next toy. The results reveal that interrupted play may affect attention and this could lead to other long term problems.

The researchers say that unlike other background noises such as a washing machine or dishwasher, a TV has ever changing images and sounds which may make it difficult for a young person, or adult, to tune out. Also, the immediate effects of TV may be hidden from adults who don?t notice the connection between the young person flitting from toy to toy and the TV exposure.

This study fits with other research which, author of Toxic Childhood, Sue Palmer talked about at one of our recent events.  She discussed some findings which are showing that over the years young babies are increasingly unable to discriminate foreground from background noises, and that TV may be the cause of this.  This of course has serious implications for things such as learning language.

These findings along with the recent study on attention and TV highlight the negative effect of Television.  Considering that most households have a TV we should be thinking about how much, how often and even if our young people should be exposed to it at all. To access the article ,which you may need to pay for, click here.  To read the news article click here

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