Friday, November 20, 2015

How the Baby Product Industry Affects Your Child’s Development : Televisions and DVDs (Anne H. Zachry, PhD, OTR/L)

Consider the negative effects on the developmental process when a baby watches educational DVDs. While watching videos, he passively stares at a screen without moving or interacting with others, not to mention the over stimulation that can occur from the flashing images and sounds coming from the screen. A recent study found that for every hour each day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, babies learned 6 to 8 fewer new vocabulary words than babies who did not watch videos. So the more time babies spent watching videos, the fewer words they knew.7

Preliminary research also indicates that low academic achievement, limitations with attention span, obesity, aggression, and sleep impairments may be associated with overuse of childhood technology.8–12 Unfortunately, the average daily TV viewing time for children younger than 2 years in this country is 1 to 2 hours, and this time span typically increases with age.13

Research reveals that watching TV interferes with communication between parent and child, which in itself is detrimental to a child’s language development. One study found that when a TV is on in the home, less speech is taking place; babies vocalize less and their caregivers talk to them less often.7 On average, for every additional hour of TV viewed, there was a decrease of 770 words heard by the child from the parent. That represents a 7% decrease in words to which baby is exposed. Research has established that the number of words a baby hears directly affects his language development up to the age of 3, and the vocabulary size of a 3-year-old often predicts the language skills he’ll have at ages 9 and 10.14

To date, no research exists that demonstrates that learning truly takes place when a baby views commercial baby videos. In fact, several studies suggest that constant and rapid changing of scenes in videos affects a child’s subsequent ability to focus on academic tasks.15 Interestingly, a large percentage of parents who were surveyed reported letting their babies watch TV because they believed it was educational.16 Yet when a child watches TV, his imagination and creativity are limited. Regrettably, in recent years car DVD players have become extremely popular with families with young kids. Many parents believe playing videos in the minivan is the perfect way to entertain their children on road trips. Although this does keep them occupied, it’s likely many parents are unaware of the risks to their little ones posed by the digital screen.

Source : Anne H. Zachry, PhD, OTR/L. Retro Baby. American Academy of Pediatrics. 2014

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