Study: TV Can Interfere With Speech

Too much boob tube means less time for children 2 and younger to develop language skills.

TV watching.jpg

A new study indicates that television reduces verbal interaction between parents and infants, which could delay children's language development, USA Today reports. The study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine challenges the claims that certain infant-targeted DVDs actually benefit children.

Researchers in the study 329 children (ages 2 months to 48 months) found that parents and their kids virtually stop talking to each other when the TV is on, even if they're in the same room. For every additional hour of TV exposure, there was a decrease of 770 words (7 percent) heard from an adult by the children; the little ones vocalized less, too.

Some of the parents may have spoken less because they left their children alone in front of the TV, but others likely were present but became distracted by the screen and did not interact with their infant, experts said.

In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages TV watching before the age of 2, a time when experts say critical development, such as language acquisition, occurs.

The study said new results may help explain previous findings—which Crib Notes reported—from an earlier study in the journal Pediatrics that found TV viewing before the age of 2 does not improve a child's language and visual motor skills.

As a busy mom, you have to remember that nobody's perfect! Plenty of moms will admit to occasionally turning on the tube for their babies. Lower your guilt by keeping these viewing pointers in mind. Plus our list of the best kid-and-parent-approved TV shows and DVDs (just in case!).