Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Mini Media Mania

I read this interesting Article on TV and other electronic media and its effects on young children. It was on the Bellsouth Health News page, written by Lauran Neergaard for the Associated Press. Here are a few quotes; but the article is quite balanced, so you might want to read the whole enchillada.

They’re bombarded with electronics starting in infancy, from the new Sesame Street for 6-month-olds to game-playing laptops for toddlers. But when does being a multimedia youngster help – and when does it hurt – children’s malleable brains?

The writer presents several questions about computer use, academic videos, and other media, including TV programming.
What does the existing research say? There's little disagreement that violent programs are bad for kids, leading to fear and aggressive behavior, and that TV in a kid's bedroom leads to sleep disorders.Other issues are confusing. A few studies suggest that baby or preschool TV might lead to attention disorders, because the rapid pace of programming alters brain development - while other studies directly contradict that.

She offers some statistics from American Academy of Pediatrics and the Kaiser Family Foundation about "screen time" for different age groups. The article ends with a couple of specific suggestions for parents.

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