More About the Impact of Media on Kids

In our last blog, we discussed the negative impact of technology and use of electronic devices in promoting bonding and attachment, learning, and school readiness. Today, we will expand on this topic by exploring the specific developmental and health consequences related to exposing infants and young children to television, whether used as foreground or background media. As in all blogs, we will reference the Growing Great Kids resources available around this topic and conclude with a few tips and recommendations from the experts.

According to Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a Pediatrician and also the Director of the Child Health Institute at the University of Washington, it is not just the age at which children start to watch TV, but it is also the amount that they watch that is concerning.  Since the time TV came into our homes, some 60 or 70 years ago, the media landscape has evolved considerably.  In the early days, it was estimated that a typical child began watching TV at 4 years of age and consumed approximately 3-4 hours per day.  Today, the typical child begins watching TV at 4 months old and is engaged in media for up to 8 hours per day (Christakis, 2010).  The American Academy of Pediatrics has also revealed some alarming findings around this issue.  They said that 90% of parents report that their children younger than 2 years watch some form of electronic media (TV programs, DVD, videos).  By the age of 3 years, approximately one-third of children have a television in their bedroom (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2011). Parents report they use television as a peacekeeper, a safe activity, and even as part of their children’s sleep routine. All of this is connected to the industry’s efforts that target young children and their parents as key consumers of electronic media including educational videos, television programs, and cable networks.

Researchers point out that infant TV viewing might adversely affect critical milestones of early childhood related to language and cognitive development, attention capacity, and social skills. Screen time has also been associated with health issues including obesity, sleep issues, aggressive behaviors, and attention issues for school age children.  Experts say that the flashing lights, scene changes, quick edits, and auditory cuts may be overstimulating to developing brains and children’s abilities to regulate mood, behavior, and learning.  Additionally, TV viewing limits the infant’s opportunities for quality time with human caregivers (Christakis, 2010).  Babies need face-to-face interactions with their parents/caregivers!

The Growing Great Kids Curriculum incorporates several conversation guides with topics specifically designed to share research findings on TV and Child Development and to explore ways with parents to decrease the amount of TV time. Here are just a few of the many topics:

  • 0-3 Months: Cues and Communication:  No Benefits from Infant DVD’s and TV Programs
  • 0-3 Months: Cues and Communication: Infants Need Face-to-Face Interaction
  • 4-6 Months: Cues and Communication: Foundations for Language Learning
  • 7-9 Months: Physical and Brain Development: Brain Cells: Use Them or Lose Them
  • 10-12 Months: Play and Stimulation: Learning Problem Solving Through Play
  • 16-18 Months: Physical and Brain Development: TV and Early Brain Development
  • 22-24 Months: Play and Stimulation: Arranging Your Toddler’s Day
  • 31-36 Months: Physical and Brain Development: Increasing Attention Span
  • 31-36 Months: Physical and Brain Development: Encouraging Receptive and Expressive Language Development
  • 31-36 Months: Basic Care: I Want to Sleep Handout

Some recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2011) around infant/children TV watching include:

  • No media use for children under the age of 2
  • Set media limits for children and have a strategy for managing background media
  • Avoid placing a television in the child’s bedroom
  • If children are engaged in TV watching, turn the TV off at least 45 minutes before the child’s bedtime ritual begins
  • Substitute TV time with  parent-child and  independent play
  • Provide activities and toys to increase the child’s attention span

While eliminating media might not be realistic for many parents, knowing the adverse effects on their children’s development and health would hopefully motivate them to set limits for TV time and look for creative ways to interact with their children. Also, remember that GGK provides hundreds of Child Development Activities for parents and children to experience face-to-face interactions!

 

WORKS CITED:

Christakis, Dimitri A, M.D., M.P.H. (2010). Infant media viewing: First, do no harm. Pediatric Annals, 39(9), 578-82. http://dx.doi.org/10.3928/00904481-20100825-10

The American Academy of Pediatrics (2011). Media Use by Children Younger Than 2 Years. Pediatrics Volume 128, Number 5. Retrieved from www.pediatrics.org/cgi/doi/10.1542/peds.2011-1753

The American Academy of Pediatrics (2011). Babies and Toddlers Should Learn form Play Not Screens. Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/Babies-and-Toddlers-Should-Learn-from-Play-Not-Screens.aspx

Recent Posts

The Next Generation

The Next Generation

Great Kids has been up to some exciting things for the past couple of years, and we are finally ready to share with the rest of the world! We have completed our most comprehensive update of our GGK Prenatal to 36 months (GGK P36) curriculum series – we call it the “GGK P36 NEXT GENERATION” series. It has been a labor of love for us. We intentionally reviewed all components of the curriculum, listened to feedback from the field, and incorporated the best practices in early childhood for our revisions, and the result is spectacular.

read more
Welcoming a New Sibling

Welcoming a New Sibling

In today’s technology-driven world, it seems so much simpler to capture special moments. Most of us usually have our phone handy, so...

read more

Let’s Play!

We’re going to spend some time talking about the different ways that children play. You’ve probably noticed that all children like to...

read more

Baby Walkers

Like many individuals, I find myself only able to absorb a fraction of the news I see in a day. We live in such a fast-paced world...

read more

Growing Great Kids® Next Generation P-36

Our latest effort to support the work of Home Visiting, our Growing Great Kids® Next Generation (GGK®) Curriculum materials.

GGK® for Preschoolers

A Curriculum & Certification Program for Home Visitors aimed at fostering the growth of nurturing, developmentally enriched parenting skills, building protective factors for children 3 to 5 years old.

Other Products and Training

Great Kids™ is dedicated to supporting programs and practitioners with a variety of curricula and training options.

How to Get Started

Start by scheduling a free 30-minute webinar to learn more about how your organization might benefit from Great Kids™ affordable curriculum with no recurring costs.

Schedule Your Free Webinar Today

Frequently Asked Questions from Our New Customers

Please review common questions for those that are new to Great Kids™. Book your free, personalized webinar to learn more.

For Our Existing Customers

Thank you for being part of the Great Kids™ family of agencies and programs. Support from Great Kids™ is just a click or phone call away.

Pre and Post Certification Products

All the tools you need to start using Great Kids™ Curriculum right away and to continue to enhance the effectiveness of your program. 

Ordering Materials

Need replacement manuals? Want to add to your library of Great Kids™ resources? Find everything you need here.

  • New Products
  • Replacement Materials
  • Spanish Materials Available

Existing Customer FAQs

Are you a past or current customer of Great Kids™? Find common questions and answers here.

Pricing Information for Existing Customers

Find pricing for companion products and other programs.

About Great Kids™

In partnership with home visitors, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of children feel safe and secure, loved and valued, curious and capable.

Research

Great Kids™ has incorporated decades of theoretical and empirical foundations regarding the kinds of interventions that have been shown to make a difference for children into the Growing Great Kids® Prenatal to 5 Years and Growing Great Families® curricula.

Alignment With Program Models

Our curricula are flexible enough to be used within a multitude of program models.

Protective Factors

The research-based principles of the Protective Factors Framework were foundational in the development of the Growing Great Kids® Curriculum.

News and Updates

Find informative articles about growing creativity in young children, welcoming a new sibling, playing outside, as well as general Great Kids™ updates.

Leave Us a Message

Great Kids, Inc.
100 North 72nd Avenue
Wausau, WI 54401