Wednesday, April 26, 2006

“When parents of young children need a break, we sometimes turn to the babysitter we’ve known the longest: television.”- Natasha Petroff

Many parents will speak on the fact that they have used the electronic babysitter to entertain their children during the day. Whether they do it while they are making dinner or just need some extra time to tend to the house it still happens. Petroff stated, “As a writer who sometimes works from home, I occasionally hook my own daughter up to a video so I can meet a deadline. At other times, I do it for my sanity.” (Parent Map) As this shows many parents are guilty of using the television to provide uninterrupted work time for themselves. But are they considering the effects this has on their children? Especially when so many television programs appear to be geared toward younger children. However many physicians disagree. In 1999 the AAP issued a statement that reads,

Although certain television programs may be promoted to this age group

(under the age of 2), research on early brain development shows that

babies and toddlers have a critical need for direct interactions with parents

and other significant caregivers for healthy brain growth and the

development of appropriate social, emotional and cognitive skills. (Parent


Physicians continue to encourage parents to keep television viewing at minimum amounts for their young children. Children are going to suffer from their television viewing habits later in life. This could be in school, work or social situations.

I went to the house of Christina and David Neiswander one Sunday afternoon. I spent time with Christina, a mother and teacher, and her daughter, Grace, who is about four years old. Christina has been teaching for over 10 years in Colonial Heights Public Schools. She enjoys working with kindergarteners. However more and more in the last several years she has been faced with the problem of competing with television programs in her lessons.


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