American Academy of Pediatrics: Limit TV for Babies Under 2 29321

Television and other media exposure has no educational or developmental benefits for children under age 2, and in fact it has been associated with negative health issues including obesity, poor attention, and sleep issues.  These are the main findings of a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), released this week at the group's annual meeting in Boston.

The AAP had recommended in 1999 that parents all but ban television exposure for their babies. This report is meant to clarify and update that recommendation, urging parents to minimize media exposure because, among other reason, time spent in front of the screen is time not spent doing educational, family, or imaginative activities that babies need to develop.

Among the specific recommendations from the AAP:

  • Do not place a television in your child's bedroom.
  • Refrain from watching adult-oriented television while young children are in the room.  This has been shown to distract parents, even if the program is "background noise" to the child.
  • If a young child is watching television, parents should monitor the programming and watch with the child whenever possible.

The recommendations also urge pediatricians to discuss media use, and encourage "media limits" before age 2, at well visits.