Study: Most Tots Watching TV
Many Infants, Toddlers Have TV in Their Bedroom
May 7, 2007 -- Television is part of normal daily life for most U.S.
children, starting from a very young age, two new studies show.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children aged 0-2
years watch no television.
That rule may not be tuned into reality, according to the two new studies
published in Pediatrics and in the Archives of Pediatrics &
Both studies show that most children are watching TV by their second
birthday. The studies don't show the long-term effects of toddlers' TV
The Pediatrics study is based on a nationally representative 2005
survey of 1,051 parents of children aged 0-6.
The study shows that among kids aged 0-2, more than 60% watched TV on a
typical day; one in five has a TV in his or her bedroom.
"On a typical day, 75% of children [aged 0-6] watched television and 32%
watched videos/DVDs, for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes, on average,"
write the researchers.
They included Elizabeth Vandewater, PhD, of the Children's Digital Media
Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
Parents typically said their top reason for putting a TV in kids' bedrooms
was to free up other TVs for the rest of the family.
"Children are growing up in a media-saturated environment with almost
universal access to television, and a striking number have a television in
their bedroom," write Vandewater and colleagues.
When Does TV Time Start?
The study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine
included about 1,000 parents of children aged 0-2 in Washington and
"By 3 months of age, about 40% of children regularly watched television,
DVDs, or videos. By 24 months, this proportion rose to 90%," write the
They included Frederick Zimmerman, PhD, of the University of Washington's
Child Health Institute.
Among kids who watched TV, videos, or DVDs, the average viewing time was one
daily hour in their first year of life and more than 1.5 daily hours by their
Most parents said their kids watched children's educational programming.
"Parents are clearly hungry for truly educational content for children
younger than 2 years," Zimmerman's team writes.
"More research is urgently required to determine whether it is realistic
to produce genuinely educational content for children younger than 2
years, and if so, what it should be," they write.
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