No TV for children under three?

Tracy - posted on 07/05/2009 ( 24 moms have responded )

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I must admit that I have exposed my child to televsion and he is only 1. However I only allow him to watch childrens programs (Australia) like Playschool, Sesame street and the Wiggles (he loves music) and try to limit the time he spends in front of the tele. But some experts say just having the tele on in the background damages your child if they are under 3. I don't feel it has impaired on his development as he crawled at 6 months and walked 10 months. Not to mention he babbles all day and its like he will start talking any day. He loves books and I have read to him since he was born. He loves playing with his toys, going to the park and exploring. Surely everything in moderation is the key!



What do you think?

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JL - posted on 07/06/2009

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I grew up with a tv in my bedroom and I cannot sleep with any background noise at all.I never had and still have no issues with sitting in place. My freind who does not allow her children to watch tv has two older kids with ADD and ADHD problems. Her kids cannot sit still in class while my child whom has watched tv, yes a limited amount and has a tv in her bedroom for movies only, can sit down for hours in class and pays complete attention. I think it is each child is different and some kids will have ADD or ADHD no matter if they watch tv or not.. so for those who will get it tv is probably one of the things that helps bring it out, but then again I personally think that doctors overdiagnose too many kids with ADD and ADHD and too many kids are overmedicated at young ages for just being wild and active kids.



I keep the tv on in other rooms and other things that make loud background noises when my kids nap so that they are not so accustomed to having complete silence. I want them to be able to fall asleep with noise around them because my mom made sure tvs were off in every room and that were no loud noises when I slept growing up so now as an adult I have sleep issues and I cannot sleep with the slightest noise around me. Because I have kept noise around my kids they can fall asleep anywhere at any time and stay asleep for hours.



I do think tv should never be used as a babysitter for any child and that parents should continuely teach their children was is real and what is not and that only certain shows are appropriate for certain ages.



I also think the same should be said for video games and computers. I have had people say stuff to me about my daughter not being as computer literate as their kids, but I feel like my kid is only 6 she knows the basics and is only allowed to use the computer for educational games and educational purposes not to play games or chat or anything else and she really has no interest in it anyway. As far as video games go we do have a Wii and she has a DS but she plays children games only on both systems and she only plays on the Wii when we have family game night on Fridays and the DS when we are waiting at appointments or are travelling otherwise we do not allow computer time or video games. We go to the pool, go to childrens museums and we are big time into crafts.

Sara - posted on 07/06/2009

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I don't let my daugher "watch" tv, but I don't have any objection to having it on, and I don't have any objection to showing her Sesame Street when she's older. I do not want to use the TV as a babysitter, however, nor do I want it to take a role in her life as the only source of entertainment as it has for a lot of other children these days. I want to encourage her to do other things besides watch TV, but I don't think your rotting your baby's mind or anything by exposing them to Tv.

Esther - posted on 07/06/2009

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I am reading a book now called "Einstein never used Flashcards". One of the things they mention in there is that studies have shown that limited education TV (Sesame Street, Blues Clues etc.) actually are beneficial to children, but that it's best if parents watch with their kids. I think they said 1 hour a day should be the limit. I'll look it up to confirm.

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Quoting Rachel:

I dont think Tv is the soul cause of ADD or ADHD but It definately does make sense that if your children watch it to much it could happen and Im not willing to take that risk. I grew up in a house where the TV was center stage. When I was really young it was all in moderation but as I got older there was a TV in every room of the house. Now I get so bored just sitting. I dont read or play sports. I think I would be a lot different if TV wasn't so big in my fam. Thats why Im trying to raise my girl without it. I would much rather her read a book or go play outside than sit in and watch the world pass her by.


I can definitely relate to this! I had a TV in my room growing up as far back as I can remember, and it took me years to be able to fall asleep without it on in the background. I don't have ADD or anything, and neither does my sister, but I certianly feel like I was a TV addict for a long time. I still have trouble sitting still in a queit room.

Sarah - posted on 07/06/2009

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I wonder how much TV would constitute 'too much' ?
I don't think i'd let the kids have a TV in their room, i never had one! :)

Rachel - posted on 07/06/2009

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I dont think Tv is the soul cause of ADD or ADHD but It definately does make sense that if your children watch it to much it could happen and Im not willing to take that risk. I grew up in a house where the TV was center stage. When I was really young it was all in moderation but as I got older there was a TV in every room of the house. Now I get so bored just sitting. I dont read or play sports. I think I would be a lot different if TV wasn't so big in my fam. Thats why Im trying to raise my girl without it. I would much rather her read a book or go play outside than sit in and watch the world pass her by.

Jenni - posted on 07/06/2009

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Quoting Rachel:

Here I go again with the American Academy of Pediatrics! The AAP recommends that children under two do not watch television. Watching TV under the age of 2 has been shown to affect brain development and has been linked to ADD and ADHD. My daughter is 14 months and has never watched TV. My husband and I have to turn the TV off most of the time she is awake which to tell you the truth isn't so much of a bad thing, we play with her more and read to her more. According to AAP children under two rarely understand the content of a television program, and often confuse pretend with reality. But most of all IMO I dont think TV should be used as a babysitter.



ya see... that has always been my concern about it though... i always wondered if television watching was linked to adhd/add... however, i dont think it is the only contributor to developemental issues such as adhd/add... because my brother is adhd and didn't watch tv until he was older... we never watched tv growing up really... we would watch carebears and inspector gadget before school and fullhouse before bed... but that was pretty much it... but it always made sense to me that those disabilities were very likely associated with tv....

Jenni - posted on 07/06/2009

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Quoting Rachel:

Here I go again with the American Academy of Pediatrics! The AAP recommends that children under two do not watch television. Watching TV under the age of 2 has been shown to affect brain development and has been linked to ADD and ADHD. My daughter is 14 months and has never watched TV. My husband and I have to turn the TV off most of the time she is awake which to tell you the truth isn't so much of a bad thing, we play with her more and read to her more. According to AAP children under two rarely understand the content of a television program, and often confuse pretend with reality. But most of all IMO I dont think TV should be used as a babysitter.



ya see... that has always been my concern about it though... i always wondered if television watching was linked to adhd/add... however, i dont think it is the only contributor to developemental issues such as adhd/add... because my brother is adhd and didn't watch tv until he was older... we never watched tv growing up really... we would watch carebears and inspector gadget before school and fullhouse before bed... but that was pretty much it... but it always made sense to me that those disabilities were very likely associated with tv....

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Except for a few kids programmes in the morning before school, I refuse to put kids TV on. It's so annoying. The TV is on for most of the day though as background noise. I can't function in silence!
Right now Lucas is too young to be bothered about whats on the box. I'm sure i'll relent and let him watch some Cbeebies as a distraction technique!

Sarah - posted on 07/06/2009

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I agree with all the 'in moderation' statements. My kids watch TV, but they also do a million other things too. Some days they watch more than other days....like if it's raining and we've made all the sock puppets and done all the crafts we can possibly think of! Also if they're ill, or if they've had a busy day they'll just sit and watch a DVD or something.
Well, that's mainly my eldest, my youngest (14 months) has a few shows she really enjoys (In the Night Garden, Waybaloo) and she will laugh and clap and dance and join in.
I don't allow the TV on in the mornings because it stops my eldest getting ready for school....lol!
I really think moderation is the key! As it's been nice and hot here lately, not so much TV because they just want to play in the garden.....but i've nothing against TV. :)

Amie - posted on 07/05/2009

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I think perhaps there are people who over use it but how do you measure that? Is it so many hours a day? How many kids actually sit for that long and watch? My kids are allowed to watch t.v. Always have been, it hasn't affected them.
Our 2 year old can count to 5, pick out her primary colors, knows who her family is and can pick them out by name and how she's related to them (ex. Allie my sister), speaks in 2-4 word sentences, knows quite a few animals by sight and sound, she's actually far more advanced then my first two were just as I imagine our 4th will be.
I've noticed it has not so much to do with how much t.v. they watch but more how much interaction they get, not with just adults but kids as well. Our toddler is quickly getting frustrated with the fact that she cannot read like her brother and sister can. She loves her picture books at least.
My oldest was a slow starter, it's taken until now (grade 4 this fall) to catch up to most kids her age. She also has ADHD though, funny thing is, she's watched the least amount of television at a young age compared to our other ones. When I had her we did not have the resources or money to pay for all these fancy toys out there, DVD's and especially cable which would have given her access to the children's cartoons. I spent most of my time with her, as did my family and friends. She still has ADHD though, as do I, my sister and mother. I do think genetics play a role in it.
Our son is an average kid, he's slowly starting to read now (he starts kindergarten this fall), he can count, knows his colors and shapes, knows tons of animals by sight and sound, etc. etc. etc.
Our smallest is only 3 months so can't really comment on her yet. LOL!
I think t.v. isn't the evil thing "they" have made it out to be. Everything in moderation and what works for one family won't for another. Some kids do get completely engrossed in t.v. and video games and computers but that is more the parents fault than anyone's I think. If you do not put effort into raising your children, making sure they are well rounded in all aspects then I do think you'll end up with a couch potato kid. If you take that active role though, limit things that they do, give them the boot outside, take them out to fun places that can be educational at the same time and generally don't take the freer approach of oh their just kids that's what kids do. I'm sorry but kids don't.. kids need guidance, rules and someone behind them giving them a boot every once in awhile.
I'm all for letting kids be kids but at the same time mine have the structure and discipline they need. I'm not even sure if that made sense and I think I went off topic a bit. Sorry! =)

Traci - posted on 07/05/2009

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I think tv has an effect on kids attention spans. If you watch kids cartoons and tv shows, pay attention to how many times the screen changes. You know, how often the scene goes to another. Back in the day, they'd show the bunny walking down the hill to chase another bunny. Now, they show the bunny running, followed by a quick shot of the bunny's feet, then a shot of the sweat flying off the bunny's brow, then the whole bunny running again, then a close up shot of the other bunny's fear-filled eyes,and so on and so on. See what I mean? They change scenes every 1/2 second to 4 seconds. That is what effects kids attention spans and probably has a lot to do with the whole ADD ADHD stuff, I think. I mean, it's just a theory, but still something to think about....



That being said, I let my 14 mo old watch tv, but I try to keep it to slower paced shows with out so much scene jumping.

Rachel - posted on 07/05/2009

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Here I go again with the American Academy of Pediatrics! The AAP recommends that children under two do not watch television. Watching TV under the age of 2 has been shown to affect brain development and has been linked to ADD and ADHD. My daughter is 14 months and has never watched TV. My husband and I have to turn the TV off most of the time she is awake which to tell you the truth isn't so much of a bad thing, we play with her more and read to her more. According to AAP children under two rarely understand the content of a television program, and often confuse pretend with reality. But most of all IMO I dont think TV should be used as a babysitter.

Jenni - posted on 07/05/2009

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oh good i feel relieved im not the only one! and it's good to see that other mom's are seeing the same benefits i am from it! i see it as a great teaching tool... especially when i can point out new objects/people/animals to my son

Erin - posted on 07/05/2009

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Quoting Joy:

Erin..that was a cute story about the batteries and Handy Mandy....LOL!

My daughter asked my hubby if he knew how to say Hello in Chinese and he had no idea so instead of admitting he did not know he made something up and our daughter just looked at him and shook her heard with authoritiy telling him that he was wrong. He responded with how do you know that I am wrong and she said because I watch Ni Hao Ki-Lan on Noggin so I know what I am talking about and Ni Hao is how to say Hello in Chinese daddy so you are wrong. After she walked out of the room my hubby looked at me and said...Well she just told me now didn't she. I just laughed.


LOL that's classic!



I really feel like age-appropriate shows can actually expose children to things outside the realms of their daily lives, and that can only be a good thing. A child may not see black/asian/aboriginal people day to day, but do when they watch Play School or Sesame Street. Our Australian Play School even has a host who is deaf, and signs through the stories and songs.

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Guilty here- but I don;t see it as guilty. I am the kind of person that always needs TV on for background noise. So I always have some kind of PBS or Noggin on. Or I love the Brainy Baby DVD series. We like lots of music here too. But yeah, my son can also be a vegetable to Power Rangers and Phineus & Ferb! I have also exposed my son to the Travel Channel, National Geographic, the weather channel, the Food Netowkr, History channel, etc.

Jenni - posted on 07/05/2009

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i'm not sure if i get it... i guess i should have researched the effects of it :/... but i ALWAYS have the tv on... i enjoy the background noise... always have... i've had it on "baby" programming since my son could roll over...

impair development in what way? physically, mentally?

my son rolled over at 6 weeks, crawled like ur at 6 months, walked at 10 months

said his first word at 10 months, now at just shy of 1 yr has a vocab of at least 20 some odd words... along with one two-word sentence "whats that?" or "whats this?", knows 5 animal sounds...

i dont believe it affected his attention span either... he wants me to read a book at least 3 times through before he's had his fill... and he spends far more time looking through his books than watching the tv...

sorry that came across as bragging about my sons achievements... but i'm really just trying to prove my point...

i also want to add that we're not a family of couch potatoes... we spend a lot of time outdoors... but when i am home... the tv is on... guilty!

JL - posted on 07/05/2009

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Erin..that was a cute story about the batteries and Handy Mandy....LOL!



My daughter asked my hubby if he knew how to say Hello in Chinese and he had no idea so instead of admitting he did not know he made something up and our daughter just looked at him and shook her heard with authoritiy telling him that he was wrong. He responded with how do you know that I am wrong and she said because I watch Ni Hao Ki-Lan on Noggin so I know what I am talking about and Ni Hao is how to say Hello in Chinese daddy so you are wrong. After she walked out of the room my hubby looked at me and said...Well she just told me now didn't she. I just laughed.

Erin - posted on 07/05/2009

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My 5mo daughter is watching ABC Kids as we speak!!! It gives me a chance to get everything done in the mornings (just got back in from hanging the washing). I pretty much always have the tv on in the background but she only really 'watches' it in the mornings - the rest of the time we're playing or reading.
I don't think there's anything at all wrong with children watching tv, as long as they're still getting stimulation from other sources and it's not in place of physical activity. My friend's daughter is 2.5yo and the SMARTEST kid I know - a lot of what she's learned is from watching kids tv. eg... she was not even 2 when one day one of her toys stopped working. She went to the bottom draw in the kitchen and started pulling everything out. I asked her what she was doing and she replied 'looking for a battery Ez to fix my toy'!!! She learned that from Handy Manny LOL.

JL - posted on 07/05/2009

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Oh My... I must be a horrible mother, LOL! I have let both my chidren watch tv or have the tv on in the backgound since they were under the age of 3 yet I can say so far niether of them has suffered a bit. My kids have always been more advanced in comparison to my friends kids so I don't see them having any damage from tv, but it is not like I have them watching 24 hours of televison and a bunch of reality shows or something, haha. We do spend more time reading and playing but I do not ban my kids from watching tv or refrain from watching tv myself while they are around.



Tracy.. Like you stated it is all about moderation and age appropriateness of the shows. Funny thing is my 23 month old son actually has a far more expansive vocabulary and is far more understandable when speaking in comparison to my freinds kid who is 3 and has not been allowed to watch tv at all so his "brain will not be damaged."



My son has learned some of the words he knows from copying and repeating from the shows he watches on Noggin and because he sees what the words pertain to on the shows he is able to identify far more things by name and my daughter who is 6 has learned Spanish and Chinese from watching childrens programs. These days so many childrens shows are geared towards providing educational lessons that they end up assisting kids in learning things rather than stunting mental development.



Plus the reality is that kids have short attention spans and will not sit down to watch a whole program and half the time they don't pay attention to what is on the tv. Right now Dora is on in my living room and my 23 month old son is playing trains in his bedroom and my daughter is playing barbies in her bedroom. The only ones watching Dora are my two dogs, haha.



Heck... It is an amazing accomplishement to get my kids to sit down long enough to eat a meal with the family....as if I could get them to sit down to watch one whole tv show. Most kids I know mentally and physically wonder off too much for them to be damaged by any tv even if it is on in the background.

Lindsay - posted on 07/05/2009

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I agree about the moderation thing! My TV is on most of the day just as background noise and I catch bits and pieces as I'm in and out of the living room. My kids (almost 3 and 4) will sit and watch a short show while I'm fixing lunch and at night before bedtime. They are great kids and where they need to be for their ages(Cooper is slightly speech delayed but it's irrelevant due to issues with hearing properly that has been corrected). I will not let them sit in front of it all day and I think moderation is the most important thing. They are very active and sometimes that's just a mellow out time. I can't imagine going three years without are TV on because they can't have that background noise!

Kylie - posted on 07/05/2009

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I have never heard of television damaging children under three. I thought research had been done and they found TV neither hinders or helps a child development. My son is only 7 months and he loves watching In the night garden. My 4 yr old daughter has watched TV or a movie alomst every day of her life and she is an intelligent, healthy child. I pretty much always have the TV or Disney movies going in the background when we are home..do you have any links to these studies? Of course moderation is the key..if you expect TV to raise your children then your going to pay for it eventually.

Kylie - posted on 07/05/2009

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I have never heard of television damaging children under three. I thought research had been done and they found TV neither hinders or helps a child development. My son is only 7 months and he loves watching In the night garden. My 4 yr old daughter has watched TV or a movie alomst every day of her life and she is an intelligent, healthy child. I pretty much always have the TV or Disney movies going in the background when we are home..do you have any links to these studies? Of course moderation is the key..if you expect TV to raise your children then your going to pay for it eventually.

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