Toddlers, TV, and Attention Problems
Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC
Millions of kids under the age of two are watching
TV in this country. In fact, according to a study
by the Kaiser Family Foundation of over 1,000
parents, about 65% of kids under age two are
watching TV, and they're averaging over two hours
of watching a day.
They're watching even though the American Academy
of Pediatrics recommends no TV for kids under age
two. They're watching even though this is a
crucial period for their cognitive development, at
an age when their brains are still being formed.
The news about these kids just got worse.
Scientists at Children's Hospital & Regional
Medical Center in Seattle, who studied over 2,500
children, found a link between early TV watching
and attention problems at a later age.
Specifically, the chances of one to three-year-old
kids developing attention problems at age seven
increased by 10% for every hour of TV watched each
The information from these two studies creates a
chilling picture of what's happening to millions
of toddlers in this country. It's unfair, immoral,
and unjust, and it needs to be addressed.
But you won't see an outcry from the mass media
giants in this country. You see, we live in the
country where "Why TV is Good for Kids" appeared
as the cover story in Newsweek Magazine in 2002.
The same Newsweek Magazine that's owned by the
Washington Post Company, which owns a sprawling
cable company and six broadcast stations around
No, you won't hear too much about these important
studies from the Time-Warner's of the world. Bad
for business, you see. But if you're the parent of
a young child, it's much more than that. It's the
possibility of permanently affecting your child's
There are about nine million children who take
prescription medication for ADHD in this country.
The number of kids who take ADHD medication has
been doubling every two years. And while TV
certainly isn't the culprit in all of these cases,
the link between attention problems and TV
viewing is too strong to ignore.
The days of the "harmless" argument for TV and
kids needs to be put to rest. Parents need to be
educated about the very real possibility of
causing future attention problems for their kids.
And young kids across this country need to be
given a fighting chance.
Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, coaches busy parents by
phone to balance their life and improve their family
relationships. For a FREE twenty minute sample session
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