When a two-year-old baby settles down in front of the TV, the long-awaited silence sets in at home and, of course, time for urgent matters. It is impossible to hide that television is a tempting idea for a holiday. But can a small child watch TV? What do the studies show?
The influence of TV on children – the opinion of scientists
The study found that 2-year-olds who spent about 9 hours a week watching TV subsequently had lower school performance, less physical fitness, and a higher need for sweets and fizzy drinks, compared with their TV-deprived peers. In addition, an increase in body mass index was found.
“Early childhood is a critical period of brain and behavioral development,” says Dr. Linda Pagani of the University of Montreal, who led the study. “Common sense tells us that time spent watching TV should be directed towards activities that promote behavioral, cognitive and motor development with the help of parents.”
Psychologists emphasize that until there is evidence that television under certain conditions has a positive effect on development, parents should limit their exposure to television and encourage children to other activities. Reading books or playing board games that develop the imagination are of great importance for the development of personality at any age.
Is there any benefit
Tired parents will be happy with such a gift – silence, order and a baby under the supervision of a “calf”. It is unlikely that he will be distracted from the bright characters, and by the way, he is interested in advertising. Educational programs often seem ideal for a small viewer, they teach how to play, count and introduce them to the world around them. The child sees something that is not on the playground: dolphins in the ocean, savannah and pyramids, learns to recognize letters and colors, counts with an announcer and is quite diligent. But … dozens of studies on this topic prove the opposite. Children who spend a lot of time in front of the TV develop more slowly than their peers.
TV and young children – what other experts say
Psychologists, neurologists and pediatricians are unanimous in their opinion – the TV at the age of two should be absent, and then, be very limited. Why? They give several reasons:
- Flashing images and harsh sounds negatively affect the immature nervous system, the child becomes excitable, there are problems with sleep and behavior, it is difficult for him to concentrate.
- Children who spend hours watching TV develop more slowly, have fewer words than their peers, and schooling is not easy for them.
- TV has a negative effect on the imagination. If earlier children could come up with a game with a stick, chalk and an old ball, now even an abundance of toys causes boredom. Lack of creative thinking and practical skills in housekeeping.
- All the senses are developed while playing, walking or talking. The child learns about cold and heat, movement, form, improves the sense of balance and physical strength. While watching TV stimulates only hearing and vision.
- Sitting next to the screen is entertainment for one. There is no interaction with peers, which a child needs much more than an adult.
- Even if the baby does not watch TV, but it is turned on and running in the background, the child becomes distracted, contact with loved ones is superficial.
- Lack of exercise and uncontrolled eating are serious developmental limitations and the first step towards being overweight.
- Television teaches stereotypes and a consumer approach to life.
Less is better
It would be reasonable to think that television is a necessary evil. The least harmful will be a fairy tale or a Soviet cartoon, but it is important to remember the rule established by the study – the less, the better. The world is so big and interesting that you should not limit it to a flickering screen. In the end, you can read a fairy tale or put on a small puppet theater without leaving your home. Make sure your 3 year old doesn’t watch TV more than 10 minutes a day. The TV program should be age-appropriate – without scenes of violence and aggression. Best of all, watch it together and then discuss the characters and their actions.