According to a recent survey 90% of parents admitted their children under the age of 2 watch at least some form of electronic media. Further, the average amount of TV watched for children aged 2 and under is 1-2 hours a day.

However, based on the findings of recent research, the Amercian Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has made a “screen-free” recommendation for all children under the age of 2. The research was aimed at discovering any possible educational benefits as well as any harm in educational TV viewing for this age group. Here are a few of the key findings from this study:

  • Because “educational” TV programs usually use content and context which does not yet make sense to children under the age of 2, the educational value of the program is void.
  • Unstructured play trumps any form of electronic media in terms of encouraging brain development. Through unstructured play children learn creativity, problem solving, reasoning, and motor skills. Unstructured play also encourages independence by teaching children to entertain themselves.
  • Young children learn best from actual interaction with humans, not TV screens.
  • Even when parents watch TV and videos with their child to aid the child’s understanding, the child still benefits more from live interaction and instruction.
  • “Background media” (such as parents own TV viewing) can also damage child development by distracting the parent and decreasing parent-child interactions. “Background media” can also distract a child during his unstructured play time.
  • TV viewing around bedtime is especially destructive because it causes poor sleep habits and irregular sleep schedules which can negatively affect mood, behavior, and learning.
  • Young children with heavy exposure to media often have delayed language development once they start school.

One of the main researchers, Dr. Brown, gave the following recommendation to parents: "In today's 'achievement culture,' the best thing you can do for your young child is to give her a chance to have unstructured play -- both with you and independently. Children need this in order to figure out how the world works."

Here is an infographic on this very topic that I recently found on Pinterest

This is Your Child's Brain on Television

Via: Online Courses News

To set your child up for a future of learning and literacy success, heed the warnings of the AAP and work to keep any child under the age of 2 “screen-free” as much as possible. To occupy the extra time your child has while being “screen-free” pick up some books and read to your child - further boosting their literacy development!

Download Reading Horizons Free E-Book: "Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Child Become a Successful Reader" to learn everything you need to know to ensure your child succeeds with reading.

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