Published: January 13, 2009 Psychology & Sociology
A leading child expert is warning parents to limit the amount of television children watch before the age of two, after an extensive review published in the January issue of Acta Paediatrica showed that it can do more harm than good to their ongoing development. Professor Dimitri A Christakis, from the Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the University of Washington, USA, has also expressed considerable concerns about DVDs aimed at infants that claim to be beneficial, despite a lack of scientific evidence. And he points out that France has already taken the matter so seriously that in summer 2008 the Government introduced tough new rules to protect the health and development of children under three from the adverse effects of TV.
Professor Christakis’ extensive review looked at 78 studies published over the last 25 years and reiterates the findings of numerous studies he has carried out with colleagues into this specialist area. He points out that as many as nine in ten children under the age of two watch TV regularly, despite ongoing warnings, and some spend as much as 40 per cent of their waking hours in front of a TV. “No studies to date have demonstrated benefits associated with early infant TV viewing” says Professor Christakis, whose review looked at the effect that TV has on children’s language, cognitive skills and attentional capacity, as well as areas for future research.