Using the TV as an "electronic baby sitter" is no substitute, doctors say, for real-life interaction between parent and child.
Some parents, like Vanessa Reggiardo, disagree. While she encourages her one-year-old son Nicolas to play with toys and reads to him, she sees the television as another useful learning tool. She believes Nicolas has benefited a lot from watching educational programs designed especially for kids.
"We've seen him actually grow and develop and learn to recognize colors and numbers and certain musical sounds as well as making different associations on what he would see on the screen, versus what he would see in real life," she says.
|Vanessa Reggiardo watches a children's TV show with her son, Nicholas. (CBS)|
However, the Academy of Pediatrics says at such an early age, learning benefits are hard to measure. It is concerned that television could interfere with the interaction between parent and child that is necessary for healthy brain growth and development of social, emotional and cognitive skills.
For older kids the academy recommends that parents limit the amount of time spent in front of the television. Parents should also make a careful selection about what they watch and discuss the content of programs. Children should also be taught to question and be critical of what they see, recognize that it is packaged to appeal to a specific audience.
Don't put a TV in a child's bedroom, and watch your own viewing habits because they will learn by your example.
For the American Academy of Pediatrics Web site, click here.
Reported By Dr. Emily Senay