Ninety percent of U.S. 2-year-olds are regular television watchers, and 40 percent of infants experience some daily screen time, according to a study published in the May edition of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
The average viewing time per day rose from 1 hour per day for children younger than 12 months to more than 1.5 hours per day by 24 months, report researchers from the University of Washington and the Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle.
Parents cited education, entertainment, and babysitting as reasons why they let their very young children watch TV, DVDs, and videos. Parents said they watched with their children more than half the time.
A different study in the same journal concluded that frequent television viewing during adolescence may be associated with a risk for developing attention problems and learning difficulties. Researchers from Columbia University and New York University found that adolescents who watched one or more hours of television a day at age 14 were at elevated risk for poor homework completion, negative attitudes toward school, poor grades, and long-term academic failure.
“Television and DVD/Video Viewing in Children Younger Than 2 Years” and “Extensive Television Viewing and the Development of Attention and Learning Difficulties During Adolescence” can be purchased from the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
A version of this article appeared in the May 16, 2007 edition of Education Week