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TV Interferes With Infants' Language Development (15492 hits)

TV Interferes With Infants' Language Development
More time watching the tube means less time learning to speak, researchers say
-- Robert Preidt

THURSDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- Television reduces verbal interaction between parents and infants, which could delay children's language development, says a U.S. study that challenges claims that certain infant-targeted DVDs actually benefit youngsters.

The researchers studied 329 children, aged 2 months to 48 months, and found that for each additional hour of television exposure, there was a decrease of 770 words (7 percent) heard from an adult by the children. The study also found that the more hours spent watching television, the fewer vocalizations infants made when adults talked to them.

"Some of these reductions are likely due to children being left alone in front of the television screen, but others likely reflect situations in which adults, though present, are distracted by the screen and not interacting with their infant in a discernable manner," wrote Dr. Dimitri A. Christakis, of Seattle Children's Hospital, and colleagues.

"At first blush, these findings may seem entirely intuitive. However, these findings must be interpreted in light of the fact that purveyors of infant DVDs claim that their products are designed to give parents and children a chance to interact with one another, an assertion that lacks empirical evidence," they noted.

The researchers added that their results may help explain previous findings of a link between television viewing and delayed language development.

"Given the critical role that adult caregivers play in children's linguistic development, whether they talk to their child while the screen is on may be critical and explain the effects that are attributed to content or even amount of television watched," the team wrote. "That is, whether parents talk less (or not at all) during some types of programs or at some times of the day may be as important in this age group as what is being watched."

The study appears in the June issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders outlines speech and language milestones.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, June 1, 2009
Posted By: Joan E. Gosier
Wednesday, June 3rd 2009 at 8:17AM
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Let's also take into account how the children are spoken to. Is it like a regular conversation or baby talk? Are the children allowed to just point to something and get a response or are they asked to speak out loud what they want? I just don't like cut and dry studies because they leave out too much in order to justify some of their numbers, it's just like statistics all numbers can be manipulated to give a desired appearance.
Wednesday, June 3rd 2009 at 4:47PM
Marquerite Burgess
I agree with both joan and marquerite. I read to my girls when i was pregnant both me and their dad agreed to not use baby talk nor allow anyone else to use it with them and they did not watch no more than two hours tv a week for the first five years of their life (they watched one 1/2 program a day). I had personal childcare providers who believed as I believed and as a result my girls were talking in complete sentences conveying complete thoughts, desires and wants by the time they were a year old. I read about a parent that had children who could read and talk as early as six months because they were taught to they had videos and everything, i'll try to find them. Anywho, I think we really underestimate the brain power of kids.
Wednesday, June 3rd 2009 at 5:20PM
crystal smith
I believe that when we KNOW BETTER we CAN DO BETTER.
I agree with many of the points that have been made. I have actually written a booklet for parents warning about some of the ills of too much TV watching for munchkins.

Here is the link for FREE DISTRIBUTION to PARENTS:

However, I think I personally would prefer to err on the part of having my children's brains TOO ALERT AND TOO INQUISITIVE than what I see in many of the classrooms at the high school level when I am substituting. Can we all say, "BRAIN DEAD"? lol So yes, I do analyze the whys behind the #s and I strive to keep my munchkins on the correct side of the %s!
Wednesday, June 3rd 2009 at 6:09PM
Joan E. Gosier
I agree totally, I wish more of us realized the importance of being their child's teacher. LOL @ Brain Dead. Most don't even have a true appreciation for reading a book and with most of everything on the internet, they don't get to enjoy the smell of a new book or feel the crispness of the pages or just being able to escape to a whole new place just from reading.
Wednesday, June 3rd 2009 at 7:09PM
Marquerite Burgess
I have my students read ALOUD sometimes just to WAKE UP their brains.
It is TRAGIC what one hears from SENIORS IN H.S. when reading out loud...When they hear each other I am convinced it makes the realize HOW IMPORTANT EDUCATION REALLY IS!
Wednesday, June 3rd 2009 at 7:31PM
Joan E. Gosier
Ohhhh I love the smell of bookstores, libraries and schools. You're right kids today seek instant gratification instead of stroll down the lane of positive imagination that books command. That is as long as it's not a harry potter or the new books dealing with vampires. These are not real literature I think true literature has died just as so many other true arts. I wish we could go back to the time where every artist had a live band or actual skills with instruments I'm down with all the fake music which also gives instant gratification and takes away from the stimulation the brain receives from actual notes being played from live instruments.
Wednesday, June 3rd 2009 at 7:43PM
crystal smith
sorry i'm NOT down with all the fake music
Wednesday, June 3rd 2009 at 7:44PM
crystal smith
This is a great discussion!

Crystal like most things I feel that moderation is the key.

Now I love me some HOUSE TECHNO music but yet I am fascinated with orchestra too because I played violin in 4th grade. I am truly not coordinated enough to be a musician nor can I sing, yet I respect the artform and recognize talent when I hear it. I have an eclectic taste in music I have once been told by an old schooler-LOL. He was insulted that someone as "classy" as he thought I was had a CD collection with things he felt was NOISE-lol. Yet I could appreciate the CDs that he gave me as a gift too. I like what moves me.
Here is my eclectic soundtrack-HA! HA!

As for the power of a book-GIRL...I just picked up SONG OF SOLOMON by Toni Morrison. I swear I thought I read it years ago but as I flip these pages it is like a BRAND NEW STORY to my mind. I can't hardly put it down. I often want to share my love of reading with my hubby but he did not grow up reading for enjoyment. It is a NEW thang for him, yet he tries very hard to break the cycle with our munchkins. My oldest is 6 and is a very fluent reader yet she doesn't yet LOVE IT like I did at her age. So this summer I am going to try to find all of my favorites and help her find her own passions in the written book.

My 5 and 6 year olds love bookstores and libraries, but prefer WORKBOOKS vs. storybooks for some reason. I just bought them one of my favorites on tape, "Thumbelina" and they seemed to enjoy it but we shall have fun this summer getting better acquainted with the LOVE OF BOOK READING vs. DOING-LOL!
Wednesday, June 3rd 2009 at 8:06PM
Joan E. Gosier
Awwww. I like techno too but so much of our music is mass produced in a studio with no real strings :-). My girls love reading they don't like the bookstore but will stay all day in the library. I just finished reading Blue Eyes by Toni for like the third time and I am still amazed by it. She is wonderful. I'm now reading some old Langston Hughes. I read any and everything but my love is for literature.
Wednesday, June 3rd 2009 at 8:22PM
crystal smith
Girl BLUEST EYE!! Our family dog (may she rest in peace) was a jet black lab with bright blue eyes. Guess what I named her??????


She was the unwanted runt from her litter. All the kids thought she was possessed because of her "spooky colored" eyes. But she had such an humble spirit that I had to take her home as a rescue. She was a true family pet until the end!
Wednesday, June 3rd 2009 at 8:29PM
Joan E. Gosier
LOL. @ Pecola. I was reading fluently at the age of two, everything and anything I could get my hands on and I'm still that way. I subscribe only to Black Enterprise and read with a pen in my hand. I actually taught all of three of my children how to read from the same books I had. Original Disney books and all. To this day, I still have those books and of all the things that we throw away, books are off limits. I use to play the flute and alto sax, I wanted to play the drums but because I was a girl my music teacher would not let me, boy he should be happy that I did not know about Title XI or it would have been problems, lol. I enjoy all types of music also, but an still prone to artist that have true talent, which is only known when you hear them sing live. Nowadays we have a lot of studio artist, but people like Musiq, Alicia and my favorite Mary J, just to name a few to have raw talent. I'll do some old school in a minute like Minnie Ripperton (please don't let no one attempt to remake anything of hers) or Rachelle Ferrell. I have read so many books and have acquired a serious library of all types of books. I just love to read period.
Wednesday, June 3rd 2009 at 9:12PM
Marquerite Burgess
get outta here joan and marquerite :-). i guess i would think a black lab with blue eyes would be posssed too LOL that is something u don't see often. we too do not get rid of books i buy them new, used from the library and at garage sales. my eldest daughter played the bass and ohhh i used to love her little recitles but abhored her practices at home LOL. i have so many books that we have a storage room committed to them alone and we have bookshelves in everyroom (including the bathroom) filled with books. Mary J, Tupac, Fred Hammond, Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill ohhh and this goes on. There are some really talented people i love Fred & Lauryn because they uses pure musicians in his songs and on stage I wish more could do that. Imagine MJ, Tupac and Jill with live musicians oh my.
Wednesday, June 3rd 2009 at 9:52PM
crystal smith
Have either of U ladies actually CATALOGUED your book collection? I often feel a pang of guilt that I should have a paper trail of what I actually own but then I stop and think "THAT IS WAAAY TO ANAL!" If I knew that others have one I could be easily persuaded to put it on my TO DO BEFORE I DIE LIST-lol. I want to do it because I too have so many books that they cannot all be in the same room. So my thought of having a "list" would be my effort in organizing them for the future. I have a book shelf in almost every room and along my fireplace mantel and a suitcase full in my garage-lol. My hubby once thought he could get rid of the ones I did not seem to use-HA! HA! I caught him but left the bag in the garage for the time being. It could make a good project for my munchkins too!
Wednesday, June 3rd 2009 at 9:57PM
Joan E. Gosier
Girl I tried but it was too cumbersome. I know all the books I have by memory. It has helped because we have some pretty rare books that have wowed the girls teachers and classmates. I have a book of slave testomonies and letters with pics and other historical items (its like a thousand pages) my girls took that book to school to help show the brutality and inhumanity of slavery during black history month. That book opened up so many discussions of slavery in their class that my girls had to tell their classmates they weren't experts :-). But i can tell you in their school system each summer they have a required reading list and we never have to buy books because we have them somewhere.
Wednesday, June 3rd 2009 at 10:10PM
crystal smith
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