Compare & Contrast Top-Down Vs Bottom-Up Approaches To Physiological Question Early Learning – Can Movies and TV Ever Be Good For Babies and Small Children?

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Early Learning – Can Movies and TV Ever Be Good For Babies and Small Children?

What an important question! As a parent of a baby or toddler, you want to help your little one reach his potential. We know that language and social skills are very important for success in school and in life. And what better time to start than when your child is young?

First, the bad news – the bad news. “Excessive viewing before the age of three has been shown to be associated with problems with attention control, aggressive behavior and poor cognitive development. Early television viewing has exploded in new- years, and is one of the major public health issues facing American children,” according to University of Washington researcher Frederick Zimmerman.

In this article, we look at the proposed links between screen time and low vocabulary, ADHD, autism, and violent behavior. Then we will see how you can use baby TV and movies to help your child learn.

Low language skills A study at the University of Washington showed that 40% of three-month-old children and 90% of two-year-old children regularly “watch” TV or movies. Researchers have found that parents allow their infants and toddlers to watch educational TV, children’s videos/DVDs, other children’s programs and adult programs.

What can we learn from this study?

* “Most parents are looking for what is best for their child, and we discovered that many parents believe that they are providing education and brain development opportunities by exposing their babies to 10 to 20 hours viewing per week,” says researcher Andrew Meltzoff, a developmental psychologist. .

* According to Frederick Zimmerman, lead author of the study, that’s a bad thing. “TV exposure takes time away from more appropriate developmental activities such as a parent or adult caregiver and an infant playing freely with dolls, blocks or cars…” he said. .

* Infants aged 8 to 16 months who watched children’s programs knew fewer words than those who did not watch them.

“The more videos they watch, the fewer words they know,” said Dr. Dimitri Christakis. “These babies scored about 10% lower in language skills than babies who didn’t watch these videos.”

* Meltzoff says that parents “innately adjust their speech, eye contact and social signals to support language acquisition” – clearly something a machine can’t do!

* Amazingly, it makes no difference whether the parent is watching with the child or not!

Why do these children learn more slowly? Dr. Vic Strasburger, professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, says “Children need face-to-face interaction to learn. They don’t get that interaction from watching TV or videos. In fact, watching may interfere with important wiring in their brains during early development.”

ADHD Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is characterized by attention problems, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. A link between ADHD and early TV viewing was noted by Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPH et al.

“Contrary to the pace of real life and experienced by young children, television can portray rapidly changing images, scenes, and events. It can be overwhelming but very interesting,” said researchers. “We found that early television exposure was associated with later attention problems.”

The researchers analyzed data for 1278 children at the age of one year and 1345 children at the age of three. They found that an additional hour of daily television viewing at these ages translated into a ten percent higher likelihood that the child would exhibit ADHD characteristics by age seven.

AUTISM Autism is characterized by poor or no language skills, poor social skills, unusual repetitive behaviors and obsessive interests. A study at the University of Cornell found that higher rates of autism appeared to be linked to higher rates of screen time.

Researchers hypothesize that “a small portion of the population is vulnerable to developing autism due to their underlying biology and that excessive or certain types of television viewing in childhood serves as a factor in condition.”

In his commentary on this study in Slate magazine, Gregg Easterbrook says that autistic children have abnormal activity in the visual-processing areas of their brain. Because these areas develop rapidly during the first three years of a child’s life, he wonders if “excessive viewing of brightly colored two-dimensional images on the screen” could be the cause. of problems. I find this commentary very interesting, as it applies across the spectrum from “quality children’s programming” to adult material.

VIOLENT ACTS The National Association for the Education of Young Children identifies the following areas of concern for children who watch violence on TV: * Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others . * They may be more likely to act in aggressive or harmful ways toward others. * They may be more afraid of the world around them.

The American Psychological Association reports several studies in which some children watch a violent program and others watch one without violence. Those in the first group were slower to intervene, either directly or by calling for help, when they saw young children fighting or breaking toys after the program.

Now that we know the bad news…

Is it possible to use movies? I think that’s it. I believe the key is to USE the program, not just LOOK at it. Most people know that it is very good to read to children, but no one puts a book in front of a child and walks away, thinking that it will cure him!

Rock your baby or tap to the rhythm of classical music or children’s songs.

Be very selective about what your child watches–and watch with him. Does the program reflect kindness, helpfulness, generosity … any values ​​you want your child to learn?

When he is old enough to associate with images of people, animals and toys, talk to him about what he sees. “Look at the puppy. He’s playing with the kitten. They’re friends. Mom is your friend.” “The baby birds are hungry. They call their mother. She will come back with food.” “Oh no! The baby lamb is missing. I wonder if the shepherd will find him.”

Make screen time a special–and very limited–time you two spend together. Treat a baby or toddler movie the way you treat a book–as another tool to give you topics for interaction with your child.

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