The 'No TV' Debate
Is your child tuned in—or out?
Those opposed to the policy (and in favor of limited TV) say:
Parents’ reaction to the AAP policy was fairly consistent. While there were those who sniffed that, of course, they’d never let their young child watch television, ever, many parents (at a rate of about eight to one) talked about what a lifesaver a half-hour of age-appropriate television could be.
Here is some of what parents had to say:
- “Human interaction is not replaced by these shows, merely supplemented.”
- “We watch Barney and Sesame Street everyday. It is a great way to stimulate and interact with her. It would be silly to deny her television time when it is such a large part of our society.”
- “I think television can be utilized to a child’s benefit if parents don’t rely on it as a babysitter.”
- “TV saves my sanity.”
- “I wouldn’t have a chance to do anything around the house if my six-month-old daughter didn’t watch a little TV. Of course I would love to entertain my daughter all the time . . . but this is the real world! No TV before age two would mean no housework, cooking or anything else would get done.”
- “Whoever comprises the American Academy of Pediatrics certainly aren’t stay-at-home moms and dads. Apparently we aren’t supposed to cook dinner, clean house or do laundry.”
- “My six-month-old finds TV stimulating. Programs such as Barney, Sesame Street, and Arthur are educational programs that send out the right message. Should these programs take my place Certainly not, nor will they ever take my place.”
Even experts have noted that their young children had been allowed to watch one to two hours of selected programming each day in addition to the hours of quality time spent with Mom or Dad.
And therein lies the key. There is no research to support that age-appropriate television, when viewed in bite-sized amounts, does any amount of harm at all. In fact, according to some people, it might actually do some good.
Moderation is the key.
Consider this AAP statement: “Children need to spend as much time growing and learning as possible. Playing, reading and spending time with friends and family are much healthier than sitting in front of a TV screen.”
What parent wouldn’t agree? But banning television altogether for the first two years seems excessive. What about the simple entertainment value that it provides? What about the music that is associated with good children’s TV programs, not to mention the educational value? And what about all the great children’s videos now on the market?
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