I have just read a report from the American Academy of Paediatrics, and one of the facts nearly knocked me off my chair. In a recent survey they performed, 90% of children under 2yrs watched some form of electronic media: OK I can understand that the TV may be on in the house and sometimes it is a useful distraction to sit them in front of a screen whilst you go to the "rest room". But then it reported that by aged 3, almost one third of children have a TV in their bedroom!!! I have to admit to being still stunned by this fact! What are we doing to our children?
I think that AAP must be thinking along the same lines because they too don't think that children under 2 should be watching TV either, as the developing brain needs more than an electronic screen to help it learn and problem solve. Here's a list of their suggestions:
- Set media limits for children before age 2, bearing in mind that the AAP discourages media use for this age group. Have a strategy for managing electronic media if they choose to engage their children with it.
- Instead of screens, opt for supervised independent play for infants and young children during times that a parent cannot sit down and actively engage in play with the child. For example, have the child play with nesting cups on the floor nearby while a parent prepares dinner.
- Avoid placing a television set in the child's bedroom.
- Recognize that their own media use can have a negative effect on children.