The American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines on media use for kids Tuesday, advising parents to limit TV time for children under two because it could significantly hinder their learning potential.
“This updated policy statement provides further evidence that media - both foreground and background - have potentially negative effects and no known positive effects for children younger than two years,” the AAP stated.
The updated guidelines come as the market is booming with DVDs that are targeted toward the under-2 age group. Recent surveys find that at least 90 percent of parents said their children under age 2 watch some form of electronic media. The APP’s recent policy statement, "Media Use by Children Younger Than Two Years," is the latest guidelines on television and childhood development since 1999.
“More is known today about children’s early brain development, the best ways to help them learn, and the effects that various types of stimulation and activities have on this process,” the pediatricians said.
Parents are urged to keep their kids away from the screen and talk to their offspring instead. This way, according to AAP, quality conversation skills are exchanged instead of bad habits. Children will also be less likely to mimic a character’s bad habits and replicate their actions.
“Television around bedtime can cause poor sleep habits and irregular sleep schedules, which can adversely affect mood, behavior and learning,” AAP added.
Adults are also encouraged to limit their own television time. The study stresses the importance of learning by example, and how influential observance can be in shaping impressionable behaviors and attitudes.
The group also noted that educational videos are not an exception, because children under two years of age are often too young to comprehend the material.
“The education merit of media for children younger than two years remains unproven despite the fact that three-quarter of the top-selling videos make explicit or implicit educational claims,” AAP said.
“Quality programs are education for children only if they understand the content and context of the video. Studies consistently find that children over two typically have this understanding,” the pediatrician group noted.
“Unstructured playtime is more valuable for the developing brain than any electronic media exposure.”