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Babies and TV: Do Not Mix

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued new policy statement — Media Use by Children Younger Than Two Years — about babies and toddlers watching TV. The organization’s take is simple:

  • The AAP discourages media use for babies and kids under two
  • Parents should avoid putting a TV in a child’s room
  • There may be a negative effect of parents watching TV with kids around
  • There needs to be additional research into long-term effects of TV viewing

I have written about my own misgivings about kids and TV. My kids don’t really watch TV all that much. The big one would prefer to read. The little one likes TV but would rather run around in circles. Literally. When they do watch it’s either Fresh Beat Band or Electric Company. The little one watches Sesame Street and Backyardigans. I have always been the “weird mom” because of this. I’ve had people ask me, with eyes bugging out, how I can keep my kids from watching television. (I’ve always wanted to say, “Easy, I don’t turn it on,” but I figured that’s sort of rude.)

This new policy gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, I won’t be seen as the weird mom anymore. The AAP has a lot of pull. While the last set of restrictions — which called for zero television use — came out there several years ago, these have more meat to them. More concrete guidelines that may be easier to follow. Is it wishful thinking to say that I’m sure it won’t be long before parents start cutting down television usage? Well, I do. I just wish the recommendations came out a few years ago. They would have saved me a lot of bug-eyed looks.

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