According to researchers, children younger than 2-years-old view TV as a confusing collection of colours, imagery and sound. They don’t really understand what they are seeing, largely because the average TV scene lasts for little more than 6 seconds. This gives your child very little time to make sense of what she has just viewed.
Many parents switch on cartoon programs to keep their little ones busy while they get household chores done. While this may appear harmless, have you actually taken the time to watch the cartoon channel lately? Cartoons, these days, are usually filled with images of violence. And while researchers do not all conclude that TV watching for young children is harmful, many agree that exposure to violent programming increases the risk of aggressive behaviour and desensitizes children to violence.
Below are some of the cons associated with allowing your child to watch TV.
Children take things literally
Babies and toddlers have a very literal view of the world. They can’t yet tell the difference between real and pretend, and they interpret what they see on TV as real life. Many young children believe that TV characters live inside the TV and may even go behind the box to check for these characters. Because of this, children who watch a lot of TV will find it difficult to learn right from wrong, and may find the world frightening – based on the images they observe.
It can be addictive
Children like adults, can be addicted to watching television. The more TV they watch, then the greater the chances of them being addicted. Moving them away can become a daily battle for parents. Children who watch TV excessively also loose creativity and eventually find it difficult to keep themselves entertained with other things. It is very important that children of this age play, as this is the primary means for them to learn.
TV, the new babysitter?
TV has become the hired help in many households. While it is often very effective, it takes some effort to prevent it taking over much needed interaction and play time with parents. Bear in mind, that this babysitter is not always a good influence.
Young couch potatoes
Children grow a great deal in the first two years of their lives. Significant physical, emotional and mental developments take place, and time spent watching TV can rob children of the more healthy activities that help nurture their growth.
According to a study by Yale Family Television Research, teachers considered children who watched excessive television as less helpful, less creative, less excited about learning, and less joyful than those who watched little or no TV.
But like most things in life, there is the opposite end of the stick.
TV watching for toddlers can be positive, that’s if it’s controlled.
Quality children’s programming can teach your child basic academic skills, such as the ABCs, mathematics, basic language skills, manners, and even early reading skills.
Your child can get exposed to things that she might not have otherwise seen such as exotic animals, far away countries, musical instruments, historical places, and diverse lifestyles and cultures. Your child can learn that there is a world beyond her home and neighbourhood, by watching TV.
And yes, sometimes the television can be used as a babysitter, but that should never be for long periods and the content needs to be carefully selected.