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TV Really Isn't Educational for Little Children

No, really. And in case we parents of under-two-year-olds haven't gotten the message yet, the New York Times reported back in October* another warning from the American Association of Pediatrics.

To sum up the article, the second paragraph states that the AAP report "makes clear that there is no such thing as an educational program for such young children, and that leaving the TV on as background noise, as many households do, distracts both children and adults."

I do wonder, however, if it is not educational to show my two-year-old short cartoons (of 5-8 minutes) that are in French or Spanish and interact with him, teaching vocabulary and talking about what's happening? I will be honest that we do that (and that we don't always make the effort to interact either). Is that bad?

It could be debated, of course, whether TV should be only educational for little children. But plenty of other research shows that beyond not being educational TV also hinders brain development. What is said about the article and the AAP report is that this actually represents a slight softening of the AAP's position. Pressure from parents and (surprise!) the video industry (who claims that parents know best!) made the AAP do it.

Ah well. I don't claim to know best, but it can be very tempting to show little children TV to give parents a little break. We have avoided it pretty well so far, but on occasion we do let our two-year-old watch something short or even watch me play the Wii. You other parents of little ones, what do you do? You parents of older ones who have been through this, what did you do? You parents who didn't have to go through this, what were the "good ol' days" like? You non-parents, what do you opine from your idealist perspective?

*Being the parent of an infant and one barely-two-year-old, I am a bit behind in my news, blogging, reading, thinking, etc.


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