it’s for company or distraction, plenty of American families leave the TV on when no one is watching — it’s called “background TV.” In a new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, researchers warn that exposure to background TV could harm your child’s cognitive performance and social play — especially for children less than 2 years old.
The study, “Background Television in the Homes of U.S. Children,” found that the average child between the ages of 8 months and 8 years is exposed to almost four hours of background television on a typical day. Younger children and African-American children are exposed to even more on a daily basis — 5.5 hours total. Children from the poorest families have the most exposure, at six hours a day. While this may seem harmless, researchers find that there is a connection between background television exposure and decreased intellectual functioning. Experts already know that television in a child’s bedroom has been linked to poor academic performance, difficulty regulating sleep and higher obesity rates. Background TV also inhibits your child’s social play, an important part of cognitive development.
You can help minimize your child’s exposure to background TV by following these guidelines:
Reviewed by: Patrick S. Pasquariello Jr., MD
Date: October 2012