Study assesses TV viewing and verbal interactions among low-income parents and infants

May 05, 2008

Mothers in low-income families seldom speak to their infants while the children are watching television or videos, which most do on a daily basis, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

“There has been a dramatic increase in television programming directed toward young infants,” the authors write as background information in the article. “This has occurred despite recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics that children younger than 2 years should not watch any television. Much of this programming is marketed toward parents as ‘educational,’ despite limited data to support this assertion.”

Alan L. Mendelsohn, M.D., of the New York University School of Medicine, and colleagues assessed 154 mothers and children of low socioeconomic status between 2005 and 2006, when the infants were an average of 6.6 months old. Mothers reported how much television their infants watched, along with the type of programming, whether they were watching with the child and whether they talked to the child during the viewing.

Over one 24-hour period, 149 of the 154 mothers (96.8 percent) reported that their infants watched television or videos, for a total of 426 exposures. These included 139 exposures (32.6 percent) to educational programs oriented to young children, 46 (10.8 percent) to non-educational programs oriented to young children, 205 (48.1 percent) to programs aimed at school-aged children, teenagers or adults and 36 (8.5 percent) to unknown programs. Mothers reported verbally interacting with their infants during 101 (23.7 percent) of 426 separate exposures to programs.

“Consistent with our first hypothesis, interactions were most commonly reported in association with educational content, especially among programs that had been co-viewed,” the authors write. “However, approximately half of the exposures consisted of programs not intended for young children; these were not associated with frequent interactions even when they were co-viewed.”

“Our findings are important because parent-infant interactions are associated with long-term developmental-behavioral outcomes,” they conclude. “Verbal responsiveness is frequently seen in association with reading and playing with toys. Given the large amount of media exposure and low frequency of reported interactions, additional study is needed to determine whether media exposure can facilitate interactions of sufficient quantity and quality to be associated with benefits for young children.”

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Explore further: Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing, researchers find

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Your next Angry Birds opponent could be a robot

Jul 10, 2014

With the help of a smart tablet and Angry Birds, children can now do something typically reserved for engineers and computer scientists: program a robot to learn new skills. The Georgia Institute of Technology ...

Green light for revolutionary new science curriculum

Jul 01, 2014

A revolutionary new science curriculum that aims to teach all school students about science starting with Einstein's discoveries a century ago has received $400,000 in Federal Government funding.

Recommended for you

Demographics impact family physicians' care of children

Sep 12, 2014

(HealthDay)—Demographic and geographic factors influence whether family physicians provide care for children, according to a study published in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Estimate: 3 in 10 NFL retirees face cognitive woes (Update)

Sep 12, 2014

Nearly three in 10 former NFL players will develop at least moderate neurocognitive problems and qualify for payments under the proposed $765 million concussion settlement, according to data prepared for ex-players' lawyers ...

Physician describes impact of malpractice suit

Sep 12, 2014

(HealthDay)—A family doctor who was involved in a malpractice suit describes the impact on her practice of medicine in an article published online in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Me ...

Report outlines 'must-have' sexual health services for men

Sep 12, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Compared with women, American men have worse access to reproductive and sexual health care, research shows, a disparity fueled in part by the lack of standard clinical guidelines on the types and timing ...

New report finds a healthy well-being among Chinese children

Sep 12, 2014

A new study of children's well-being in Shanghai finds that first-graders are socially and emotionally healthy, with most performing average or above average academically. The study, by the New York University-East China ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

mrlewish
not rated yet May 06, 2008
Children should not watch TV period. Only active/interactive things should be allowed.