My sister-in-law and I have children that are two weeks apart in age. I was visiting with her when her baby boy was 6 weeks old when she started showing me how much her baby liked to watch TV. She had him on a blanket, on his stomach in front of the TV; he was holding his head up and was intensely watching it. I watched as he stared at the TV, he was interested and fixated for a long time. I wondered what it was that he was interested in since he could not comprehend what he was watching. Was it the flashing lights, the quick scene changes? I looked at my own 8-week-old daughter who showed no interest at all in watching TV and wondered about the effects of TV watching for infants. I wondered if it actually could be harmful in some ways.
Professor Dimitri A Christakis, from the Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the University of Washington believes it is harmful and is warning parents to limit the amount of television children watch before the age of two. He says, “The weight of existing evidence suggests the potential for harm and I believe that parents should exercise due caution in exposing infants to excessive media.” I interviewed a neigbor of mine who is also a mother of six children. I chose her because they do not have a TV in their home. I asked her why and she replied, “because of the negative influences of the media.” She expressed that the commercials promote excessive materialism and TV programming in general was not uplifiting and positive.” She also said that as a family they do not miss watching TV. The children always seem to find ways to entertain
themselves and never ask to have a TV in their home, although she did say that her children enjoy watching TV at their friend’s houses but usually not for long periods. I told her about some recent research that suggests that TV viewing can actually cause harm to very young children. She did not know much about the...