Should Babies Watch TV? (A New Perspective)

Should Babies Watch TV? (A New Perspective) 1I'm what Stephen Gass (pictured in black t-shirt), co-creator of eebee adventures, calls a "no-TV-mom." Essentially, I follow the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics to not allow my child to watch any television before age two. My daughter is fifteen months and she has never watched TV - no Baby Einstein, no Sesame Street, no Dora the Explorer. Nor has she been exposed to "background TV" because my husband and I don't watch much TV (exceptions: Psych and Lost on DVD after baby's bedtime).

Our decision came about partly because of the AAP guideline, partly because some research indicates that television isn't the healthiest option for little ones, and partly because it doesn't fit well in our family "culture." My husband and I are much more likely to go for a run, to be outside, to read books, or to eat meals together than to watch TV together (pre-baby and post-baby).

That said, I agree with Gass' presupposition that "To make a sweeping statement that every media is bad..." is illogical.

Gass and co-founder Don Burton are creators of eebee adventures, DVDS that are "designed to help you and your baby transform everyday play, observation and exploration into learning that lasts."

Gass said, "Our goal is to help people to play. A whole lot of what we’re doing is common sense. We're here to help parents who say, 'I’ve exhausted my peek-a-bee repertoire. Now, what do I do?' Our episodes feature on-the-floor, behavior-based conversations with regular objects."

Gass explained why he and Burton decided to produce their adventures for the six month and up population despite AAP's recommendation, "The reality is that when the AAP made their recommendation back in 99 it was based on a lack of evidence. It was more cautionary. If the content and format [of a television program] is designed in an appropriate way then, in fact, there are positive impacts."

Gass' credentials are none to shabby when it comes to his education and work experience,"I’m trained as a developmental psychologist. I was the president of sesame street online. I take the research very seriously. We have looked at as much evidence as is available. We’re comfortable about the choices we’re making. We’re talking about kids – about babies – we have to be responsible."

I have to admit that Gass' arguments are convincing. Using television as a communication tool and an opportunity to interact with your baby seems reasonable (which is how the adventures are designed to be used). Plopping your baby down in front of the screen all by his lonesome is an entirely different matter...

For more information about Gass' stance and the research behind it, check out "Baby TV: Not so Black and White," an article he wrote that was featured on the Hot Moms Club website this past fall.

Should Babies Watch TV? (A New Perspective) 2WIN IT! One winner will receive a DVD pack of all three eebee adventures: Exploring Real Stuff, All in a Day's Play, and Figuring Things Out. To Enter, simply leave a comment and your e-mail address prior to Thursday, January 3rd, at midnight. The winner will be contacted and announced on Friday, January 4th. * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.

* UPDATED * The winner is #14 annie. Congratulations!

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60 comments on “Should Babies Watch TV? (A New Perspective)”

  1. I'll agree, tv isn't the best parenting tool, but for a stay-at-home mom sometimes its the only way to get a bathroom break! Holding a six-month old while trying to use the bathroom sometimes isn't the most comfortable thing!! I would love to win these!

    Lisa
    lmv311@aol.com

  2. I haven't heard of this DVD series. Sounds cute! My toddler likes Yo Gabba Gabba and dances the whole time it is on. While it's not my ideal parenting method for her to what tv, like other posters, it provides this stay-at-home mom a brief but highly rewarding 30 minutes of quiet time. Well, it's not quiet, but I can eat lunch and go to the restroom without a little friend "helping" me, so I'm all over it! Ebee Adventures sound fun and silly--just what a toddler enjoys!

  3. I appreciate the article link... it's something I'm trying hard to understand right now. Currently, my daughter is allowed to watch one segment of her sign language video per day (22 minutes), which she adores. Would love to check out these DVDs.

  4. I always struggled with the TV/Babies thing too. I would love to check this out. Thanks!
    sharibrownfield(at)gmail.com

  5. Like you, my husband and I made the decision before our daughter was born to follow the AAP's guidelines. Although she has been exposed to some background TV, since my husband loves college football, we've never sat her down in front of it. But I don't always want to be the parent that won't let their kid watch TV. I just imagine them "escaping" to a friend's house when they're a little older and watching brainless programs for hours straight. Thank goodness for fun and interactive programs like this.

  6. My son gets to choose a half hour of "TV" in the afternoon. (A Tivo'd show from PBS) He's two and its a great time for him to wind down.

  7. I'm a bad mom. I've let all 7 of my children watch tv. Even plopped in front of the set while I do other things.
    And the bad thing is that my kids are A honor roll students, star athletes, and great ambassadors for Christ. (no ADHD or obese kids here, and we watch a LOT of TV)
    Bring on the DVD's!

  8. Fantastic Contest! I would love to win these for my great-nephew. Please enter me in your giveaway. It is very much appreciated.....Thanks,Cindi
    jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

  9. I don't usually like "edutainment" but this looks like a cool series. Sadly, my son is getting way more tv than his sister did at his age, mostly second-hand but I swear he's watching the Barbie Island Princess movie...

  10. Study after study turns up the same basic advice, one I saw most recently cited in a Parenting magazine article mentioned at http://www.babiesandtv.com. In short, nothing teaches a baby better than direct interaction between parent (or other loving adult) and child. I know it's tempting to plunk a youngster in front of a screen showing high-quality content, but it's still a passive experience.

  11. I wrestle with the TV issue. I think not even having background TV on is tough because I like to look at the weather in the morning and watch some of the morning and evening news programs.

  12. I would enjoy it with a new baby in the house our two year old has been watching much more "T B" than before. For the first year we were a no tv house and then I got pregnant and tired and it was summer, so once or week or so I needed it :) Now with the new baby he gets a bit more, so I would like to see what this series has to offer. Noggin is my favorite without commercials though.

  13. The other day, Bridget was telling me about Panda Bears eating bamboo. Had she not learned that from television, I can honestly say she wouldn't have learned it from me. We are fairly particular about what our kids watch. I admit that they watch more TV during winter than in summer, but most days they can be found outside playing (even in frigid weather). For my sanity, I turn on the TV when I need a break. Having them watch a 30-minute cartoon so I can cook dinner or make a phonecall is much better than seeing me lose my "cool." Also, I would never be able to get any work (writing) done during the day if it weren't for Bridget's fascination with The Wonder Pets and Wow Wow Wubbzy on Noggin.

    Lis Garrett
    http://www.MelissaGarrett.wordpress.com

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