A study out of the University of Montreal and the University of Michigan has found that television watching toddlers may suffer negative effects years later. This is one of the few studies that has followed children from toddler age to their early years in the classroom, the LA Times reports.
1,314 children were enrolled in the study. In order to determine any possible effects, parents reported on the levels of television watching at ages 2 ½ and 4 ½, while both parents and teachers evaluated the children’s academic and lifestyle habits at the age of ten. The study found that when 29 months old, toddlers watched an average of 8.82 hours of television per week. At the age of 4 ½ years, that amount increased to an average of 14.85 hours per week.
Time’s Wellness blog reports that each additional hour of television that children watched at 2 ½ years old, was associated with a 7 percent decrease in classroom engagement and a 6 percent decrease in math achievement. It also corresponded with a 13 percent decrease in physical activity on weekends, as well as a 10 percent increase in video-game playing and a 10 percent greater possibility of being bullied by classmates.
Here are some options to consider, according to Time:
The AAP and pediatricians encourage parents to minimize the TV toll by keeping televisions sets out of kids’ bedrooms, monitoring what they watch and watching TV with their children and discussing the content — at the very least, TV can help spur intellectually stimulating and engaging conversation within families.
This study is published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.