How do you communicate with a TV?
You, Your Child and Television: Early Experiences Matter!
Did you know?
*99% of American families have at least one television in their homes?
More than a third of children younger than six years of age have a television in their rooms!
Between 74 and 100% of children watch TV before the age of 2!
The average 9 month old has already begun watching television regularly.
Babies as young as 14 months imitate what they see on TV.
* from Impact of Media on Cultural Identity Formation,
2010 Zero to Three National Training Institute presentation
by Wanjiku Njoroge, M.D.
Why should you care about these facts? The developmental health of your child is impacted.
Here is what we know:
- Your child’s brain grows in response to sensory experiences but TV does not provide the sensory “food” for the growing brain. Instead, what is not used in the developing brain is “pruned off,” as early as 6 months.
- TV forms a child’s expectation of how things work in the world. Parents! Do you want to give up the most important role in your child’s life?? The job of shaping your child, how he sees himself and others?
- Beware! TV does not present as diverse a picture of cultures as they exist in reality. Does Dora the Explorer really represent all Latino cultures?
- Do you really want these images to be the way your child learns to see his own culture and the characteristics of all cultures?
What do we do about this?
The easy answer is “turn off the TV!” In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV for infants and toddlers. All of the best answers begin with you, the parent or provider. Read, talk, sing, walk, play with your child. YOU are your child’s primary resource for forming his view of self, family, community, the world. Don’t relinquish that job!
Resources from the 4-C Library:
Look for ideas for multi-sensory activities in a variety of books on our shelves.
For Parents and Teachers:
Changing Channels by Eric Hoffman
Based on the CD by Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer. Presents activities promoting Media “smarts,” including 50 Things to Do instead of Watching TV.