I’ve been somewhat reluctant to write about this. Primarily because I have been thinking back and forth on this matter – conflicted opinions are overshadowing my perspective. It really is perplexing. Not in a million years did I think watching Television would be problematic. I just took it for granted when relatives allowed their children to watch TV.
Not long ago while visiting a couple with my husband, their little girl was somewhat mischievous but remained calm watching TV. The mother, who shall remain unnamed said, “TV gives us momentary lapses of peace”. She went as far as saying that she even knew most of the cartoon songs, and I’m not judging her. In fact, I’m very open-minded and relaxed about parenting. Perhaps I have a french attitude towards parenting. Every mother and father is entitled to make their own decisions about the upbringing of their children, being snobby about how other people bring up their children is counterproductive, and will eventually come back to bite you somewhere you don’t like.
The first two years of a baby’s life are the most crucial for their cognitive development. Babies at this stage are supposed to explore, communicate and interact. Placing them in front of TV for prolonged periods could potentially hinder their development. Some researchers have indicated links between exposure to TV early on and attention seeking disorders. The research on this remains inconclusive but until further research has been conducted the American Association of Paediatrics recommends that children don’t watch TV at all until they reach 2-years-old.
However, is it really realistic to say that children should not watch any TV at all under the age of 2-years-old? It’s not possible, at least for all the parents out there, they know what I mean when I say it is very unlikely. The downside is, if you allow your children to watch TV they will become addicted and demand more, and more time for their favourite cartoons and shows. Some might appear as educational and even with a morally good story behind it, but unfortunately in the process of doing this they miss out on the time that they should be interacting with their surroundings and “playing”.
Yale Family Television Research has concluded that children watching too much TV are at risk of obesity, aggressive behaviour and poor social development. You start them off early when the vibrant colours seem to catch their attention but once this becomes addictive, they’re less likely to play in the garden or just be joyous toddlers around the house. More importantly, I highly recommend everyone to read “Education TV for babies? It doesn’t exist” and it succinctly highlights why babies watching Television leads to less parent-child interaction.
Since it is not possible to completely stop children under the age of 2-years-old to watch TV. Even if you wanted to stop them, they will eventually like certain cartoons that they see at a friend’s house, relatives or even grandparents. Basically you can’t control when the TV is on outside of your house. At least, this is what I believe. I let my son watch one cartoon in the morning which lasts 12-minutes and sometimes 15-minutes. I can’t control how much exposure to TV he gets at my grandparent’s house or sister’s but in general under our house – certain rules are emerging.
How do we spend our days? Well…it depends! Sometimes Baz is extremely fussy (especially since he is teething) and keeping him happy can be a struggle but I have learned that the momentarily silence from TV could potentially damage his cognitive development. So, we’ve come up with creative ways to use his energy and hopefully it will make him healthier in the long run.
Sarah Nesreen commented on our Facebook page last week regarding this subject, and she explained that her son was exposed to TV at the age of 3-months-old to observe his concentration, but now limits the hours of watching TV and she selects which cartoons he watches. Parents exercise their own intuitive thinking when it comes to issues like this, but I think it is important to keep in mind the potential pitfalls and conflicting opinions that exist on matter as such.
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