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Background Noise Can Cause Harm

By Lisa Guernsey

When my first daughter was 18 months old, it seemed that she couldn't care less about television. One of her favorite things was a toy stroller, and I remember feeling almost proud of the fact that she would rather push her stroller around the couch than watch whatever emanated from The Food Network. Having the television on, it seemed to me at the time, made no impression.

Little did I know. It turns out that background television -- even simple background noise -- can affect young children more than we might think. According to a series of studies that have accumulated over the past decade, growing up in a noisy or "always on" TV environment may have negative consequences for speech development, playtime and parent-child interaction.

Some of the research comes from experiments that explicitly use background TV with children. Take, for example, studies from the University of Massachusetts' Child Study Center that show how background TV shortens playtimes and dampens parent-child interactions. Other studies are delving into the impact of background chatter and noise. At the University of Maryland, a series of studies by speech scientist Rochelle Newman have shown that infants can't pick out words in a stream of speech in the midst of background chatter. The ability to catch individual words, known as "segmenting speech," is widely known as an important prerequisite for language development. Several studies by George Hollich, a developmental psychologist at Purdue University, have found similar problems with babies and noise, even at levels that adults might consider relatively quiet.

Baby videos are the subject of much debate these days, while the issue of background television doesn't get much attention. Yet, according to 2006 data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 53 percent of families with children under 6 years old say that they have the TV on all, most or half of the time.

The evidence of harm from background TV was enough to get our family to start paying a lot more attention to how we used TV and radio. We took pains, for example, to save our stints with TV news until after the kids' bedtime. (That's not to say that our house became a tomb of quiet. Whose is with a toddler and preschooler running around?)

Are worries about background TV and noise on the radar screen at your house? Have you been to a playdate with the TV on in the background? Have you talked to your child's caregiver -- or even your own spouse -- about turning off the TV when the kids aren't watching it? Do you think parents pay enough attention to the impact of background noise?

Lisa Guernsey lives in Alexandria, Va., with her husband and two daughters, ages 5 and 3. She is an education, science and technology writer who has contributed to the New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Until the birth of her first daughter, she wrote on the impact of technology on education and family life for the Circuits section of the New York Times. She is the author of the recently published book "Into the Minds of Babes: How Screen Time Affects Children From Birth to Age 5"

By Stacey Garfinkle |  October 16, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Preschoolers
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Comments


It could also be simply that people who have t.v. on all the time don't talk and interact with their kids as much. Same as the studies that find that having books in the house is a significant indicator of future academic success - its not the books, its the kind of people who buy books. Just wait, there will be another study saying background noise helps. Use your best judgement and ignore this daily parenting baloney. You can do everything "right" and get a kid who ends up in prison and you can do everything "wrong" and end up with a terrific human being. The middle road is best.

Posted by: Moxiemom | October 16, 2007 7:46 AM | Report abuse

We never had cable because we felt that too much tv kept us from doing other things that we liked to do. It's too easy to turn it on and just veg. And, before my 10 week old was born, we even took out the antenna that let us get local stations, so now we don't watch any commercial tv. Wouldn't really have time to watch a whole program anyway. We do still watch the occasional movie and with the baby in the room. I was more worried about the effect of commercial tv on my little one's attention span than on language development, but that is an interesting study too. There is no doubt in my mind that we spend much more time talking and playing with the baby since we don't have the distraction of tv.

Posted by: sunnydaze | October 16, 2007 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Moxiemom said:
"It could also be simply that people who have t.v. on all the time don't talk and interact with their kids as much"

And I was about to say the exact same thing. It's not the TV, it's the parent.

And to sunnydaze, I commend you for removing the TV but I have a cousin and my aunt had no TV in the house. When the child came to a house with a TV, she would sit infront of it four HOURS. Probably not going to happen since you watch videos but just wanted to share my experience.

Posted by: r6345 | October 16, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

What about music? Is that not also background noise? Surely NPR is. Did they compare NPR lisening parents to Jerry Springer listening parents? Same noise, different kinds of people. (I apologize in advance if the example I gave offends.)

Posted by: atb2 | October 16, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm not so much worried about the noise levels as just having the TV on in the first place. I just don't want the TV to become the attractive activity in the house. Sure, we let our daughter watch sometimes, but we don't leave it on 24/7.

I subscribe to a parenting message board and posted on there recently about being appalled when I went to a playgroup where the TV was on for the duration. I had never been to a playdate or playgroup where this was the case and asked the group if they had seen this happen and expressed my anger over it (I personally think playdates are the one place where TV doesn't belong since the children are supposed to be *playing* with one another). Anyway, I got my head handed to me on a platter by a cavalcade of moms who thought I was the one who was out of line.

I am a former self-confessed TV addict, and since my daughter was born (she's 3 now) we have made a concerted effort to not have the TV on all.day.long. It was hard at first, but not really anymore. We watch TV while she naps and in the evening. On rare occasions we'll watch a program all together during the day. But we never leave it on as background noise.

Posted by: viennamom | October 16, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Viennamom - I looove t.v. but I don't want my kids to watch it all the time. Same thing with chocolate! I don't get the people with the t.v. on at playdates either. I tell my kids, you have a friend over to PLAY not to watch t.v. You can sit passively with your mouth open by yourself! It is a tough balance. You have to try to be respectful of what other people want to do in their homes as long as they are respectful of you! We don't allow PG movies (kids 5&7) yet either and ask friends not to show them when our kids are there! Good luck!

Posted by: Moxiemom | October 16, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I don't think there's any question that an environment with the TV "always on" is a really bad idea if you have little children in the house. You don't need to ban TV, but if it's always on, little children will clearly be distracted from doing other things necessary for their development (going outside, finding ways to amuse themselves, chatting with their parents, inventing games that make a mess.)

And while some programs are appropriate for children, or at least unharmful, there aren't nearly enough of them to justify "always on". And even if there were... oh for heaven's sake just turn it off. The family will be better off, believe me.

So, boring topic.

Posted by: Cathi | October 16, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Sunnydaze, my wife and I have followed much of what you are doing but we have gone a couple of additional steps.

At home our twin girls wear tin foil hats. We believe it helps deflect radio waves and other harmful frequencies. And we have gone to the NRA site and purchased ear protection gear for toddles. The girls wear it outside. Of course we take the tin foil hats off in the neighborhood we dont want to scare them emotionally.

Oh and during my wifes pregnancy she wrapped tin foil around her stomach.

Posted by: NYC | October 16, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

r6345, yes, I had thought of that because I recognized this tendancy in myself - for instance if I go into a cafe where a tv is on, I can not help but stare at it. He does get a little tv exposure at the babysitter's - and I'm OK with that. I just don't want it to be THE form of entertainment for the little guy or for me.

We do listen to a good bit of radio - NPR, the classical station, we have a great Jazz station, and a "mix" type station that plays current pop and "oldies." I'd be interested to know whether any studies have looked at the effect of radio on infant developement, especially talk radio like NPR.
I know that some of the baby books recommend classical and studies on adults show that listening to complex classical music helps concentration while doing complex mental tasks. Jazz seems to calm the baby and he LOVES Billie Holliday - wish I could say that it was because my voice sounds like that, but alas, it is not so....

Posted by: sunnydaze | October 16, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

"I have a cousin and my aunt had no TV in the house. When the child came to a house with a TV, she would sit infront of it four HOURS. Probably not going to happen since you watch videos but just wanted to share my experience."

This is my daughter. I'm too cheap to pay for cable and the TV is in the basement, so all it is good for is videos. My parents got a second tv and cable last year when my grandmother moved in with them, and since then, my 8yo wants to watch all the time when she is at their house. But she engages with other activities well at home and school, is very creative, and does well in school, so I think we have avoided most negative outcomes.

On the other hand, my 6 yo lived in an orphanage for three years and apparently they had TV (but I don't know how much it was on or what was watched), and she is less interested in TV than her sister, although she is becoming more interested in it as she gets older and develops frinds who talk about shows they watch.

Posted by: single mother by choice | October 16, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

atb

"Did they compare NPR lisening parents to Jerry Springer listening parents?"

Yes, there are a-holes in both groups.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

This just seems like common sense to me. If there is a lot of background noise then the toddler probably can't hear any better than you can. When the tv is on I too get distracted when Barney starts singing the hand-washing song.

However I wonder why they focused so on TV rather than other forms of background noise. Ok, I know why: it's because in the ruling intellectual culture today, TV is the root of all evil. My child's daycare was very loud: put 6-12 babies and toddlers in a room together and listen to THAT all day. I'm sure it's just as hard for kids to learn words when every word said to them is drowned out by a chorus of 4 other children wailing. In fact, it's almost impossible for me and my baby to hear each other with my 3 year old whining nonstop, and our tv is off all day. Surely my 3 yo is preventing my baby from learning language. And what about the noise from traffic that is a constant both day and night, inside or outside. Those who want us all to move to cities surely discount the effect of traffic on babies' language development.

Posted by: m | October 16, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I hate TV in the background. But then I didn't grow up with one -- I was probably in first grade before my parents bought one and there was nothing much on during the day (am I dating myself?) so it was only on in the evenings -- to watch specific shows.
I've lived TV-free most of my adult life. I observe my kids get deeply involved in their make-believe games, playing for hours at a time. I've taught creative dramatics to kids of a variety of ages and it can be nearly impossible to get kids to break out of a sit-com mentality and discover their own creativity. I blame television, though that blame could be misplaced.
My kids and I don't have cable nor any conventional TV reception though we do watch DVDs. I wouldn't impose my decision on others but I really don't have time to waste on the idiot box. I think my kids have benefited -- though we may just be a weird family to begin with!

Posted by: anne.saunders | October 16, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I have a 4 year old a 17 month old. We let them watch some, but not much TV. Oddly enough, the 17 month old is the one who wants to watch the most. She sits on the couch and points at the TV. She can press the button and turn it on. I think ultimately, TV has zero benefit to kids, but I let mine watch it sometimes. Our son didn't watch TV his first two years, except perhaps an occaisional baby Einstein, which it turns out also rots the brain. And he had zero interest in TV. But having a sibling changes things.

As far as background TV, we don't do that. Except football in the fall, and even then I turn the volume off. I don't like the idea of watching my shows or even the news with the kids around. I try to limit my own TV viewing with the kids around, because it distracts me from the small amount of time I have with them.

Posted by: Cliff | October 16, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

It seems like it is easier for us to imagine turning off the TV than turning off the radio, music or other form of background noise. But to a one-year-old, what is the difference? Noise is noise. If a child is having a hard time sorting out different sounds it makes sense that they wouldn't be able to learn language as well as they might if the only voice was from a parent or sibling. I can't imagine some music from time to time would hurt, and it could help, but having a lot of different noises going on at the same time gets confusing for adults. It is understandable it would get confusing to a young child.

Posted by: RK | October 16, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm happy to see a discussion on this. When our little Eve came along, we always had the TV on in the background when we were feeding her, etc., and as the months went by, I felt so smug that I never propped her in front of the set, but just had CNN on, assuming that couldn't be harmful. But whoops, uh-oh, looks like maybe it is! I'd like to know more about this. But meantime, I'm turning 'er off! Thanks.

Posted by: GermyPerm | October 16, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

My parents raised us with essentially no t.v. Certainly no commercial television--we were only allowed PBS kids shows (through HIGH SCHOOL! LOL! Not much interest in Sesame Street at that point.) and I definitely was one of these people who, when in a room where a t.v. was on, couldn't help but watch it. Sucked in and stared, zombie-like, for however long it was on.

I found myself doing that again as an adult once I finally got a television, so when DH and I moved to our current house and I was pregnant with my first child, we decided to just not hook up the cable or antenna. Our television is just a big monitor for the DVD player. But I didn't want to go as far as my parents and end up with zombie kids when the t.v. was on, so we let the kids watch television (well, videos) but make sure it's turned off for big chunks of time as well. I was hoping that by making it available but not constant it would kind of balance the zombie behavior with the incessant-background-noise annoyance.

It's not working. Well, one part of it is--the kids think that when the credits on something roll, you turn off the television. They have no idea that on broadcast t.v. something else comes on next! But they are every bit as zombiefied as I am when they see a television on--nothing will distract them from the spectacle in front of them. In fact, just this past weekend I took my DD through Times Square and all of those big screens had her completely paralyzed, slack-jawed and drooling. I had to drag her out of the area. So now I'm thinking it's just how we're wired and not much to do with television viewing habits. And this zombie-behavior certainly has an effect on playtime and parent-child interaction. It's hard to interact with a drooling blob of child-flesh whose attention is entirely focused on a box with moving pictures.

As for speech development, who knows? The t.v. is only on in our house when we're specificially watching something, and generally no more than a couple of hours at most during the day, but both kids have serious speech problems. Maybe they'd be worse if the t.v. was on constantly.

Posted by: Sarah | October 16, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I think many of the posters have the right idea about assessing the impact of other background noise sources. I think TV may be harder for kids to deal with because of the light/movement/images in addition to the sound. So which is it -- background noise or background moving images that potentially cause a problem or do both? Does Lisa Guernsey know of any studies along those lines?

Posted by: anne.saunders | October 16, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I have read Lisa's book and this blog post is such a small snippet of the careful and fascinating research she's done in the area of media's affect on babies. It really does deal specifically with what she calls "screen time"--tv, dvds, computers--and not so much with radio, etc. She's a mom and a journalist so she brings both compassion and integrity to her writing. I think it's pretty rare to see such a balanced look at an issue that has us all concerned, even when many of us grew up tied to tv. But now with the gigantic entertainment industry specializing in children's programming, it's nice to know that someone cares enough about parental concerns to write a whole book about it. The best part is that she's not at all judgmental, just lays it out there and comes to the conclusion that you have to do what's right for your household and your children. It's a wonderful book, and looks at a lot of the benefits of specific programs. Who would have guessed that Barney is one of the best when it comes to developement? And once I read about how Wonder Pets could help children better interact and solve problems together I tried it out on my kids and it made a noticable difference in their playtime.

Posted by: New York Mom | October 16, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

i am a big fan of tv-or was...i literally used to sleep with it on! but then over time, i began to realize there was nothing on that i wanted to watch. this coincided with the arrival of my children, 4 & 6, who are allowed to watch 30 minutes per day (like anything else, we try to do things in moderation...because i like cheetos every once in awhile, too). it all comes down to trying to do what makes sense, including breaking the tv-time limit rules so I can sit down with my husband and talk...

Posted by: amb | October 16, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Hey Germy Perm. I watch a lot of news too and consequently we have discussions about war, the people running for president, powerful women (Hillary, Pelosi and Rice) etc.. I also read the paper and teach my kids that its important to know what is going on in the world. I also watch pure candy t.v. (Friday night lights, Big Shots, Greys Anatomy etc..) after the kids are in bed. Not every moment of your life of that of your children needs to be edifying. My kids watch no t.v. during the week mostly because we are too busy. They watch on the weekends while we sleep in! Very few things in this world are all bad or all good. As I tell my kids, even too many tomoates will make you sick!

Posted by: Moxiemom | October 16, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

The real problem is that TV is a passive "push" medium that requires ignoring outside input in order to process it at the pace it is doled out. That's why we have DVRs, so we pause shows many times during each show to discuss what Clifford or Arthur are doing and ask her what she thinks. And we don't watch commercials, even if the show isn't recorded off of PBS. We also have plenty of Clifford, Arthur, and The Magic School Bus at our fingertips ready when we decide it's time for a show. I really didn't understand how much DVRs change the experience of watching TV.

Oh, and there's no ongoing "babble", as once the recorded show reaches its end a menu comes up on screen.

Posted by: The Cosmic Avenger | October 16, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

oops, tomatoes - mybe i ned to trn of the t.v.

Posted by: Moxiemom | October 16, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Anne Saunders raised a good question about the research: How do we know which is worse -- the effect of background noise or the constantly changing light and movement emanating from a video screen? This is something that researchers are still trying to work out. In the studies conducted at the University of Massachusetts, for example, the presence of background TV led children to play differently. Compared to their no-TV counterparts, these children seemed to bop from one toy to another to another, spending less time with each toy. If you watch the recordings from those studies you see that many of these same children never even looked up at the TV. So one hypothesis is that the sound was having more impact than the imagery. Other studies have led social scientists to wonder if parents -- not children -- are being most distracted by the visuals of background TV, leading them to unknowingly cut short their interactions with their kids. Follow-up research from U-Mass provides some evidence that this could be the case. As for me, I admit that somedays I'm more susceptible to being distracted by a TV screen than my own kids!

Posted by: Lisa Guernsey | October 16, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

You can read an excerpt of the book on amazon, which I enjoyed. One other comment on the issue.
The pressure on Moms these days is pretty incredible and buying a few minutes of quiet from the TV or a video seems pretty innocent to me. And it's part of what makes this discussion so fraught. There's a secondary issue here about the lack of other adults (neighbors, older kids, grandparents or other extended family) to relieve parents with a young child or children at home. You just can't ask moms to do it all.

Posted by: anne. | October 16, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the follow up Ms Guernsey. I too would not be surprised if TV distraction affected parents more than kids!

Posted by: anne. | October 16, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Good point anne. - wasn't there a study recently that showed that today's mothers spend significantly more time with their kids than our moms did? Maybe that's the cause of all ills? (just kidding).

Posted by: moxiemom1 | October 16, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

If you think the TV debate is fun, just wait until your kid is 12 and all of his friends spend hours glued to one or another of the most violent video games money can buy. Have fun negotiating that!

Posted by: Floomby | October 16, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I will say this, anyone who is watching TV without Tivo is wasting 15-20% of their time. For instance, My son wanted to watch the last segment of a TV show that he had already started watching. It was 8pm and we wanted to watch the Simpsons. We let him watch 10 minutes of his show and then we turned on a show we liked, which we were recording via Tivo. We started watching our show at 8:10 and after fast forwarding through commercials the show was over at a little past 8:30. Had we sat through the commercials we would have finished the show at 8:30. There we got TWO shows in the same time we would have previously watched just one. Then take into account the PBS kids shows on from 5am-9am that your kids like that you'd never see and you will never, ever, go back to turning on the tv to see what's on. I don't use TV like that anymore and I don't think anyone should.

There is a LOT a WHOLE LOT of very good TV programming for kids and adults that has educated and inspired me. Giving up TV would be like giving up reading.

Just realize what technology has to offer you and plan accordingly.

Posted by: DCer | October 16, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

and by the way, I think the concept of "screen time" is bullS*** and I totally doubt its truthfullness. Who funded this study? Publishing companies? First it was TV that was the culprit and now when my son is learning alphabet games on the computer, which requires alphabet mastery, small motor skills, computer skills and other things that make him the computer star in his daycare... now suddenly those things are "bad."

Yeah, bad if you're a publisher, but not if you're in IT. I understand that Lisa Guernsey's book is not in black and white, but I'm dead tired of the parents of kids who aren't literate in computers saying that computer time is "bad." It's not like my kid's going to be playing outside at 7:30pm on a school night, but 10 minutes of games at NickJr seems to really intrigue him before storytime.

Posted by: DCer | October 16, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I've taught creative dramatics to kids of a variety of ages and it can be nearly impossible to get kids to break out of a sit-com mentality and discover their own creativity. I blame television, though that blame could be misplaced.
---

So you claim you're willfully ignorant of the modern drama genres and then you're surprised that the kids today don't follow the kind of drama YOU like? Don't you see the mind-bending irony here? What if their ideas and work is really superior to yours?

Whose got the idiot box now?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

To the anonymous poster at 1:23 p.m.

To use a metaphor -- what if all I find are kids writing haiku and no one understands or has any interest in learning how to write a sonnet or a ballad? It's not that haiku is bad. It's that it's limited. If you don't know other genres for expression, your creativity is limited. This seems a pity to me. And while I suspect TV may be to blame, I can't say as I'm certain. Too many variables to study scientifically, I'm sure.

Posted by: anne.saunders | October 16, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I think this conversation is interesting, and if nothing else, it's making me think about my choices. I know my children (ages 2 and 4) watch too much TV, and I know that most of the time it's because I'm trying to work (with no child care) or cook a meal and need it as a "babysitter." Egads!! Bad, bad on my part. But I also try to give them concentrated quality time with lots of creative, imaginative activities. I must come to Lisa's defense, however, for those who are claiming that her assertions have no scientific analysis or value. I think they do! It's up to us as parents, caregivers, teachers, etc. to decide what we do with that knowledge. So instead of complaining about how someone is trying to educate us, let's take a look at our kids - in all their great individuality - and try to do what's right for them. If you choose to let your kids watch TV - or not - be aware that it is a CHOICE. Make it, be happy with it, or choose to make changes. Thanks, Lisa, for bringing "screen time" to our attention. If we're thinking about it, that's half the battle in making good decisions for our kids.

Posted by: Alexandria Mom | October 16, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Of course the flipside is that if your kids aren't accustomed to background noise, they may have one heck of a time with it when they are out in the real world and need to count change near a busy street, or take a test in school trying-not-to-listen to someone with chewing gum chomp away at it, or someone with a cold breathe heavily. Getting accustomed to things at an early age can be a GOOD THING!

Posted by: StudentMom | October 16, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I definitely think we should make it a part of our regular lives and teach it to be a regular lives of children to take time just to sit still, be quiet and be happy in that moment. Whether you work that in as prayer time, meditation time, or whatever is irrelevant, just MAKE the time and make it a regular part of life.

Doesn't have to be for long- certainly not for the younger ones, but I think it would have a LOT of benefits in the short and long term.

Posted by: Liz D | October 16, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Lisa,
I say good on ya'! This is a very relevant topic for parents. I've read articles on TV and ADHD. I will definitely read your book.
Cheers and congratulations from former neighbor, Lisa T.

Posted by: Lisa T. | October 16, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I recommend the book of Dr Sally Ward 'BabyTalk'. (You can find it on Amazon.) Dr Ward is a speech expert. It will tell you that background noises in the early years doesn't help a child to concentrate or focus in later years.

I have follow her 'BabyTalk' programme with my 12 mth old since she was born. She not only can sign well, she can pick out individual words in a sentence and she expects us to supply the 'sound track' to her actions when she acts out the action of a song or when she initiate a peek-a-boo game! Oh, by the way, we are a bilingual family and she signs and do all the above in both languages!

Needless to say, we are the Luddites who choose not to have a TV in our home. I also make sure that she is not around when I put the radio on for 'back ground' entertainment!

Posted by: UKMum | October 17, 2007 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I have some issues with negatively correlating the UMD "segmenting speech" study and TV background noises. Human's are able to discern the direction of sounds. We can isolate independent sound sources. And this can be surmised to be true for infants and toddlers, as they show the ability to do this by turning their eyes in the direction of a sound. If human's can isolate the source of a sound, how can there be a negative effect from some background noise. Children who have parents that speak to them in 2 languages also take longer to speak correctly, but they typically exceed children from monolingual families and end up with a vocabulary that's essentially twice as big. Whose to say that children from "TV-on" families don't end up with a better ability to communicate in noisy environments (it just may take them longer to learn this skill - like a bilingual child). Maybe if all the noises were coming from the same source it might be difficult for a kid to "segment" speech. But I think this just points you in the direction that others have commented on - when the TV's on, there's less parent-child interaction and a lot less talking by the parents, period.

Posted by: Nathan T. | October 17, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

It is a pity that modern homes and parents seem to believe the television 24/7 is a good baby sitter.The damage done is immense. If the atmosphere is quiet and calm, children do go about their interests calling out to parents to appreciate or cricize their activities with toys or some meccano type toys.If you deny this and keep watching Bay Watch for the baggages who man the show, woe unto you. Beware. There are things that the older generation did day in and day out all for the best interests for their children and for themselves. Let us take a leaf from that. Enough of the cacophony of daylong cable t.v.

Posted by: dr.s.divakaran | October 17, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

my kids (1 1/2 & 3) have never lived in a house with a television set, but we use the computer for movies here and there. we do have music playing constantly (and not just classical or jazz, i listen to a lot of blues and punk rock), but both of my kids have extremely advanced language skills compared to other kids i know. we have also lived in a few houses with many other people, hence lot's of talking and noise. my point being is that background noise may not be the problem, if there is indeed something tangilble to this study. maybe there is something to the phrase 'idiot box', then again i grew up in a fairly normal tv habit household. by the way, i don't miss tv at all, there too much living to be doing.

Posted by: littlefoot | October 18, 2007 12:16 AM | Report abuse

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