More bad news for television: “Television exposure during infancy is associated with language delays and attentional problems,” according to Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
Of particular concern are homes in which the television is on all the time, which amounts to 30% of all households! In these situations, less interaction, critical for infant language development, occur because of the interference of the television.
Christakis and his colleagues studied 329 two-month to four-year-old children and their parents. Children were monitored for two years recording what they heard or said for 12 to 16 hours. Researchers did not calculate whether the children and their parents were actively watching TV or if it was just on in the background during the research. The results, according to Live Science:
Analyses of the recordings revealed that each hour of additional television exposure was linked with a decrease of 770 words (7 percent) the child heard from an adult during the recording session. Hours of television were also associated with a decrease in the number and length of child vocalizations and the back and forth between the child and an adult (called a conversational turn).