TV inhibits not just the child’s development, but daddy’s too

Yet another reason to feel guilty about your child watching TV.  This is from an article in Time.

As most parents of small children will reluctantly admit, nothing can occupy a child quite like television. Unfortunately, the scientific evidence suggests that using the boob tube as a babysitter has its price: the more time babies spend sitting in front of the screen, the more their social, cognitive and language development may suffer. Recent studies show that TV-viewing tends to decrease babies’ likelihood of learning new words, talking, playing and otherwise interacting with others.

A new study published Monday in the Archive of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine adds to that evidence while introducing an intriguing new perspective. Many studies have suggested that television impedes learning by inhibiting youngsters’ ability to interact with others, and according to Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a University of Washington pediatrician, that effect may be compounded when parents get drawn into TV-watching too.

This explains a lot, actually.  Our toddler did not watch TV until she was 2, just like the guidelines say.  Now she watches about an hour a day, a little in the morning while we get dressed, and a little at night as we wind down.  In the Night Garden is an especially wonderful show.

Now that we have the baby, I catch him watching the TV already and have to manuever him around.  And then it hits me, I do not want to leave the room.  Because I want to watch the end of the cartoon.  And I do not want to talk to anyone while I am watching it.

These are crappy cartoons too, as I slowly lose my faith in the Swedish state children’s channel (at least there are no commercials).  But I get hooked, and I get quiet, and my daughter is quiet, and my son is hearing nothing from me or her while he strains to look over his shoulder at the crappy cartoon.

So lately I have just been leaving the room with him, and I start to talk, and my daughter is left alone with the TV, but this is life with two kids in a small apartment, and sacrifices must be made.

I must admit, though, that I often come back in for the wrap up dance of In the Night Garden.  The Swedish voice over is even better than the English, and Igglepiggle and Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka really get down.


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