The Sad Truth: All TV is Bad TV Under Age 3

As parents, caregivers, therapists and teachers, we all want to do what’s best for the kids in our lives.  We want to give them every advantage, every leg up, every boost they need to grow and develop their potential.  So, when the “experts” who make things to educate and entertain our kids come out with a whole new line of products, videos and shows that promise to give our kids that something extra to develop their minds, we’re right there!  We go right out and spend the bucks to insure that our little Einstein won’t be left out.  But some other experts began to wonder… how much did these videos aimed at toddlers, or even infants, help them develop?  What they discovered may surprise you.

A leg up?   The pediatric experts involved in studying the effects of TV on our kids found that, for each half hour on average per day a child under three spent in front of the tube, they were that much more likely to develop ADHD or learning disabilities.  It also didn’t matter what type of TV show, either – Baby Einstein was just as dangerous as Sponge Bob.  The findings point to what exposure to TV does to those rapidly developing brains.  New little brains are forming neurons at an amazing rate, and neurons formed in front of the TV tend to want more flash and dash.  The exposure to rapidly changing images presented by TV without any physical outlet puts the brain out of balance, and it comes to expect that level of stimulation.  I mean, after Danny Phantom, “Goodnight, Moon” just can’t cut it!

Now, we all know that there are times that dinner just has to get on the table, and someone is working late, and the TV is all there is between you and insanity.  An occasional short video for your toddler will not damage her for life.  Chose age appropriate selections that are slow-paced and full of kid-friendly language, characters, and topics.  But if your goal is to maximize her brain’s potential, head to the library or the park, not your dvd collection. Avoid regular TV for your under three, and you will not regret it!

by: Rebecca Thomas, MOT
Occupational Therapist

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