Brainy Baby and Brainy Einstein
Quotes this week from Professor Dimitri Christakis, Director of the Child Health Institute at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. The source is yesterday's The Health Report (audio and full transcript available).
The subject is infants, children, TV and DVDs and videos such as 'Baby Einstein' and 'Brainy Baby':
How much TV do infants watch?
"In 1970 in the United States at least the average age which children began to watch television was 4 years of age. Today, based on studies that we and others have done, the average age at which children begin to watch television is closer to 4 months of age ... 30% of preschool children in the United States have televisions in their bedrooms and they spend on average one to two hours a day watching TV. And to put that number in perspective, keep in mind that children of this age are only awake for about ten to twelve hours a day, and so you realise they are spending somewhere between 10% to 20% of their waking hours in front of the screen on average ..."
TV and attention problems
"... what we found was that the more TV children watched before the age of three the more likely they were to have attention problems at age 7, specifically for each hour of TV the children watched on average before the age of 3, their chances of having attentional problems at age 7 were increased by about 10%. To put that another way a child who watched 2 hours a day of TV on average before age 3 would be 20% more likely to have attention problems at age 7 compared to a child who watched none ..."
TV and language development
"And we also did an assessment of their child's language development, how many words they actually recognised. And what we found in that study was that for children between the ages of 7 and 16 months the more baby DVDs they watched on average the fewer words they knew of words they would be expected to know so specifically each hour of baby DVDs per day resulted in about six or seven fewer words being known by the children in that study."
TV and aggression linked like smoking and lung cancer
"I have done work on that, you know it's funny that it's considered to be controversial. In scientific circles the debate around whether or not screen violence and real world aggression are linked is over. The preponderance of evidence if you do a metanalysis as has been done and take the hundreds of studies that have been done and summarise them suggest that the link between aggression on screen and real world violence is as strong as the link between smoking and lung cancer."
Categories: science, health, television, children, education, violence, language