American Academy of Pediatrics: television has no positive effects on children under two

Here is a new recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics about children under two watching TV:

Their verdict: It’s not good, and probably bad.

Media, whether playing in the background or designed explicitly as an infant educational tool, “have potentially negative effects and no known positive effects for children younger than 2 years,” concluded the AAP’s report, released Oct. 18 at the Academy’s annual meeting in Boston and scheduled for November publication in the journal Pediatrics. “Although infant/toddler programming might be entertaining, it should not be marketed as or presumed by parents to be educational.”…

As screens proliferated, so did research. “There have been about 50 studies that have come out on media use by children in this age group between 1999 and now,” said Ari Brown, a pediatrician and member of the AAP committee that wrote the new report…

Three studies since 1999 have tracked educational television use and language development, and they found a link between increased TV time and developmental delays. Whether that’s a cause or effect — parents who leave kids in front of televisions might simply be poor teachers — isn’t clear, nor are the long-term effects, but the AAP called the findings “concerning.” In the same vein, there may also be a link to attention problems.

Several thoughts about this:

1. This article suggests researchers have found a correlation, not necessarily causation. But since researchers have not found any positive effects, they must feel confident in issuing this recommendation.

2. Does research suggest that television has some positive effects for children over two years old? Overall, are there studies that suggest television has positive effects for adults?

3. What does this do for children’s programs and videos? What about all of those “Baby Einstein” videos? Will new cottage industries spring up to fill this void?

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