Tag Archives: Children and Television

Boston University Medical Center study: Mobile device use by young children may slow development

2 Feb

Moi has written about the effect of television on the brains of young children. In Television cannot substitute for quality childcare:
Your toddler not only needs food for their body and appropriate physical activity, but you need to nourish their mind and spirit as well.
There are several good articles which explain why you do not want your toddler parked in front of a television several hours each day. Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE has a very good explanation of how television can be used as a resource by distinguishing between television watching and targeting viewing of specific programs designed to enhance learning. In Should Babies and Toddlers Watch Television? http://pregnancy.about.com/od/yourbaby/a/babiesandtv.htm Elizabeth Pantley commented about the effects of young children and television. MSNBC was reporting about toddlers and television in 2004. In the MSNBC report, Watching TV May Hurt Toddlers’ Attention Spans the harmful effects of television viewing on children were discussed. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/4664749#.UtNlDbB3tdg Robin Yapp of the Daily Mail reported in the article, Children who watch too much TV may have ‘damaged brain structures. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2537240/Children-watch-TV-damaged-brain-structures.html#ixzz2qFKiwot6

Science Daily reported in the article, Mobile and interactive media use by young children: The good, the bad and the unknown:

While there are many research studies that have found children under the age of 30 months cannot learn from television and videos as well as they can from real-life interactions, there are fewer studies investigating whether this is the case with interactive applications. Early research suggests that interactive media, such as electronic books and learn-to-read applications can be useful in teaching vocabulary and reading comprehension, but only in children preschool-age or older. The potential educational benefits for children under two is questioned, as research on interactive media in this age group is scant, and it is well-known that infants and toddlers learn best through hands-on and face-to-face experiences.

This commentary notes that while mobile device use by children can provide an educational benefit, the use of these devices to distract children during mundane tasks may be detrimental to the social-emotional development of the child. The researchers ask “If these devices become the predominant method to calm and distract young children, will they be able to develop their own internal mechanisms of self-regulation?”

“It has been well-studied that increased television time decreases a child’s development of language and social skills. Mobile media use similarly replaces the amount of time spent engaging in direct human-human interaction,” explained corresponding author Jenny Radesky, MD, clinical instructor in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and a former fellow in pediatrics at Boston Medical Center.
The authors question whether heavy device use during young childhood could interfere with development of empathy, social and problem solving skills that are typically obtained by exploring, unstructured play and interacting with peers. “These devices also may replace the hands-on activities important for the development of sensorimotor and visual-motor skills, which are important for the learning and application of math and science,” added Radesky…. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150130102616.htm

Citation:

Mobile and interactive media use by young children: The good, the bad and the unknown
Date: January 30, 2015

Source: Boston University Medical Center
Summary:
Mobile devices are everywhere and children are using them more frequently at young ages. The impact these mobile devices are having on the development and behavior of children is still relatively unknown. Researchers review the many types of interactive media available today and raise important questions regarding their use as educational tools, as well as their potential detrimental role in stunting the development of important tools for self-regulation.

Journal Reference:
1. J. S. Radesky, J. Schumacher, B. Zuckerman. Mobile and Interactive Media Use by Young Children: The Good, the Bad, and the Unknown. PEDIATRICS, 2014; 135 (1): 1 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2014-2251

Here is the press release from Boston University Medical Center:

Public Release: 30-Jan-2015 Mobile and interactive media use by young children: The good, the bad and the unknown
Boston University Medical Center
(Boston) -Mobile devices are everywhere and children are using them more frequently at young ages. The impact these mobile devices are having on the development and behavior of children is still relatively unknown. In a commentary in the journal Pediatrics, researchers review the many types of interactive media available today and raise important questions regarding their use as educational tools, as well as their potential detrimental role in stunting the development of important tools for self-regulation.
While there are many research studies that have found children under the age of 30 months cannot learn from television and videos as well as they can from real-life interactions, there are fewer studies investigating whether this is the case with interactive applications. Early research suggests that interactive media, such as electronic books and learn-to-read applications can be useful in teaching vocabulary and reading comprehension, but only in children preschool-age or older. The potential educational benefits for children under two is questioned, as research on interactive media in this age group is scant, and it is well-known that infants and toddlers learn best through hands-on and face-to-face experiences.
This commentary notes that while mobile device use by children can provide an educational benefit, the use of these devices to distract children during mundane tasks may be detrimental to the social-emotional development of the child. The researchers ask “If these devices become the predominant method to calm and distract young children, will they be able to develop their own internal mechanisms of self-regulation?”
“It has been well-studied that increased television time decreases a child’s development of language and social skills. Mobile media use similarly replaces the amount of time spent engaging in direct human-human interaction,” explained corresponding author Jenny Radesky, MD, clinical instructor in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and a former fellow in pediatrics at Boston Medical Center.
The authors question whether heavy device use during young childhood could interfere with development of empathy, social and problem solving skills that are typically obtained by exploring, unstructured play and interacting with peers. “These devices also may replace the hands-on activities important for the development of sensorimotor and visual-motor skills, which are important for the learning and application of math and science,” added Radesky.
While much remains unknown, the authors recommend that parents try each application before allowing their children to access it. Parents are also encouraged to use these applications with their children, as using interactive media together enhances its educational value. “At this time, there are more questions than answers when it comes to mobile media. Until more is known about its impact on child development quality family time is encouraged, either through unplugged family time, or a designated family hour,” added Radesky.
###
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-01/bumc-mai013015.php

See, How to Have a Happier, Healthier, Smarter Baby http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/childrens-health/articles/2010/10/19/how-to-have-a-happier-healthier-smarter-baby

Parents must interact with their children and read to them. Television is not a parental substitute. Mobile and Interactive devices are also not babysitters and can’t be used to simply distract children.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

For exclusive content: THE OLD BLACK FART
Subscribe at http://beta.tidbitts.com/dr-wilda-the-old-black-fart/the-old-black-fart

Parent homework: Critical television watching with your children

28 Jan

Let’s make this short and sweet. Park your kid in front of the television and you will probably be raising an overweight idiot. Tara Parker-Pope has a great post at the New York Times blog. In the post, TV For Toddlers Linked With Later Problems Parker-Pope reports:

Toddlers who watch a lot of television were more likely to experience a range of problems by the fourth grade, including lower grades, poorer health and more problems with school bullies, a new study reports.
The study of more than 1,300 Canadian schoolchildren tracked the amount of television children were watching at the ages of about 2 and 5. The researchers then followed up on the children in fourth grade to assess academic performance, social issues and general health.
On average, the schoolchildren were watching about nine hours of television each week as toddlers. The total jumped to about 15 hours as they approached 5 years of age. The average level of television viewing shown in the study falls within recommended guidelines. However, 11 percent of the toddlers were exceeding two hours a day of television viewing.
For those children, each hour of extra TV exposure in early childhood was associated with a range of issues by the fourth grade, according to the report published in the May issue of The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Compared with children who watched less television, those with more TV exposure participated less in class and had lower math grades. They suffered about 10 percent more bullying by classmates and were less likely to be physically active on weekends. They consumed about 10 percent more soft drinks and snacks and had body mass index scores that were about 5 percent higher than their peers. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/05/tv-for-toddlers-linked-with-later-problems/?_php=true&_type=blogs&src=me&_r=0

Well duh, people. You probably already knew this. Guess why you have feet attached to your legs? So, you and the kids can walk around the neighborhood and the park. Better yet, why don’t you encourage your children to play. https://drwilda.com/2012/09/16/play-is-as-important-for-children-as-technology/

Sierra Filucci wrote in the Common Sense Media article, Yes, You Can Make TV Time Count:

Here are some realistic conversation starters to keep in your pocket for when the show ends:
Ages 2-4
Watching TV with kids ages 2-4 is less about delving into provocative topics than it is about reinforcing shows’ positive social messages and lessons.
Ask:
•How did that song go again? Let’s sing it together.
•What were the colors of the rainbow the kids saw?
•How many balloons did the girl have?
•Why were the characters happy/sad/mad?
Ages 5-8
Kids in the 5-8 age range start to see a lot more action and interpersonal conflict, though many shows targeted at this age portray positive resolutions. Asking kids to relate what they see to their own experiences helps the positive lessons sink in. Also, anything that can help kids start to be more media savvy is a good thing.
Ask:
•How did the characters work out their problem?
•Did the characters do something you wish you could do?
•Who were your favorite characters, and why?
•Do the boy characters dress differently than the girl characters? Why?
•What made the show more exciting/scary/funny?
Ages 9-11
As kids get a little older, they’re more curious about the outside world and are figuring out how people relate to each other. Kids this age can be very receptive to age-appropriate guidance, and using TV as a jumping off point can be a super-helpful tool.
Ask:
•What was the consequence for that character’s behavior?
•What tools did the character use to resolve that conflict?
•What makes that character appealing? Or not?
•Did anything in this show surprise you or teach you something you didn’t know?
•Does this show intend to teach something or get a certain message across?
Ages 12-14
As kids enter the teen years, watching TV together can get a little hairy. They’re interested in pushing boundaries, and you might have to talk about exactly why certain shows are off limits. But even controversial TV can be an opportunity to get conversations started and gain some insight into your kid’s social life and inner thoughts.
Ask:
•Does that situation seem realistic?
•Do any of your friends act like that?
•What would happen in real life if someone acted that way?
•Do any of these characters seem like “types”? Why do so many shows repeat the same stories or create such similar characters?
•In reality shows, what do the participants stand to gain or lose by appearing on the show?
http://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/yes-you-can-make-tv-time-count?utm_source=012314_Parent+Default&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly

The issue is whether children in a “captive” environment have the maturity and critical thinking skills to evaluate the information contained in the ads. Advertising is about creating a desire for the product, pushing a lifestyle which might make an individual more prone to purchase products to create that lifestyle, and promoting an image which might make an individual more prone to purchase products in pursuit of that image. Many girls and women have unrealistic body image expectations which can lead to eating disorders in the pursuit of a “super model” image. What the glossy magazines don’t tell young women is the dysfunctional lives of many “super models” which may involve both eating disorders and substance abuse. The magazines don’t point out that many “glamor girls” are air-brushed or photo-shopped and that they spend hours on professional make-up and professional hairstyling in addition to having a personal trainer and stylist. Many boys look at the buff bodies of the men in the ads and don’t realize that some use body enhancing drugs. In other words, when presented with any advertising, people must make a determination what to believe. It is easy for children to get derailed because of peer pressure in an all too permissive society. Parents and schools must teach children critical thinking skills and point out often that the picture presented in advertising is often as close to reality as the bedtime fairy tail. Reality does not often involve perfection, there are warts.

Parents must interact with their children and read to them. Television is not a parental substitute.

Related:

Study: Children subject to four hours background television daily https://drwilda.com/2012/10/02/study-children-subject-to-fours-background-television-daily/

Common Sense Media report: Media choices at home affect school performance https://drwilda.com/2012/11/01/common-sense-media-report-media-choices-at-home-affect-school-performance/

Tohoku University study: Excessive television watching changes children’s brain structure https://drwilda.com/2014/01/12/tohoku-university-study-excessive-television-watching-changes-childrens-brain-structure/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Tohoku University study: Excessive television watching changes children’s brain structure

12 Jan

Moi wrote about the effect on television on children in Television cannot substitute for quality childcare:
Your toddler not only needs food for their body and appropriate physical activity, but you need to nourish their mind and spirit as well.
There are several good articles which explain why you do not want your toddler parked in front of a television several hours each day. Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE has a very good explanation of how television can be used as a resource by distinguishing between television watching and targeting viewing of specific programs designed to enhance learning. In Should Babies and Toddlers Watch Television? http://pregnancy.about.com/od/yourbaby/a/babiesandtv.htm Elizabeth Pantley comments about the effects of young children and television. MSNBC was reporting about toddlers and television in 2004.

In the MSNBC report, Watching TV May Hurt Toddlers’ Attention Spans the following comments were made:

Researchers have found that every hour preschoolers watch television each day boosts their chances — by about 10 percent — of developing attention deficit problems later in life.
The findings back up previous research showing that television can shorten attention spans and support American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations that youngsters under age 2 not watch television.
“The truth is there are lots of reasons for children not to watch television. Other studies have shown it to be associated with obesity and aggressiveness” too, said lead author Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a researcher at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/4664749#.UtNlDbB3tdg

The issue is whether prolonged television watching affects a child’s brain development.

Nancy Shute is reports in the US News article, TV Watching Is Bad for Babies’ Brains

Babies who watch TV are more likely to have delayed cognitive development and language at 14 months, especially if they’re watching programs intended for adults and older children. We probably knew that 24 and Grey’s Anatomy don’t really qualify as educational content, but it’s surprising that TV-watching made a difference at such a tender age.
Babies who watched 60 minutes of TV daily had developmental scores one-third lower at 14 months than babies who weren’t watching that much TV. Though their developmental scores were still in the normal range, the discrepancy may be due to the fact that when kids and parents are watching TV, they’re missing out on talking, playing, and interactions that are essential to learning and development.
This new study, which appeared in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, followed 259 lower-income families in New York, most of whom spoke Spanish as their primary language at home. Other studies examining higher-income families have also come to the same conclusion: TV watching not only isn’t educational, but it seems to stunt babies’ development. http://health.yahoo.net/articles/parenting/tv-watching-bad-babies-brains

Background television is also not good for the development of a child. Television in the background can be harmful for kids. Alexandra Sifferlin writes in the Time article, TV On in the Background? It’s Still Bad for Kids.
http://healthland.time.com/2012/04/20/tv-on-in-the-background-its-still-bad-for-kids/#ixzz1svpJx5S1
https://drwilda.com/2012/04/23/television-cannot-substitute-for-quality-childcare/

Robin Yapp of the Daily Mail reported in the article, Children who watch too much TV may have ‘damaged brain structures’:

Watching too much television can change the structure of a child’s brain in a damaging way, according to a new study.
Researchers found that the more time a child spent viewing TV, the more profound the brain alterations appeared to be.
The Japanese study looked at 276 children aged between five and 18, who watched between zero and four hours TV per day, with the average being about two hours.
MRI brain scans showed children who spent the most hours in front of the box had greater amounts of grey matter in regions around the frontopolar cortex – the area at the front of the frontal lobe.
But this increased volume was a negative thing as it was linked with lower verbal intelligence, said the authors, from Tohoku University in the city of Sendai.
They suggested grey matter could be compared to body weight and said these brain areas need to be pruned during childhood in order to operate efficiently.
‘These areas show developmental cortical thinning during development, and children with superior IQs show the most vigorous cortical thinning in this area,’ the team wrote.
They highlighted the fact that unlike learning a musical instrument, for example, programmes we watch on TV ‘do not necessarily advance to a higher level, speed up or vary’.
‘When this type of increase in level of experience does not occur with increasing experience, there is less of an effect on cognitive functioning,’ they wrote.
Children who watch the most TV have the most profound changes to their brain structure
The authors said the impact of watching TV on the ‘structural development’ of the brain has never before been investigated.
‘In conclusion, TV viewing is directly or indirectly associated with the neurocognitive
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2537240/Children-watch-TV-damaged-brain-structures.html#ixzz2qFKiwot6

Citation:

Cerebral Cortexcercor.oxfordjournals.org
1. Cereb. Cortex (2013) doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht315 First published online: November 20, 2013
The Impact of Television Viewing on Brain Structures: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Analyses
1. Hikaru Takeuchi1⇑,
2. Yasuyuki Taki1,2,3,
3. Hiroshi Hashizume1,
4. Kohei Asano1,
5. Michiko Asano1,
6. Yuko Sassa1,
7. Susumu Yokota4,
8. Yuka Kotozaki5,
9. Rui Nouchi6 and
10. Ryuta Kawashima2,4,7
+ Author Affiliations
1. 1Division of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer
2. 2Division of Medical Neuroimaging Analysis, Department of Community Medical Supports, Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization
3. 3Department of Nuclear Medicine & Radiology, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer
4. 4Graduate School of Education
5. 5Smart Ageing International Research Centre, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer
6. 6Human and Social Response Research Division, International Research Institute of Disaster Science
7. 7Department of Functional Brain Imaging, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
1. Address correspondence to Hikaru Takeuchi, Division of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, IDAC, Tohoku University, 4-1 Seiryo-cho, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8575, Japan. Email: takehi@idac.tohoku.ac.jp
Abstract
Television (TV) viewing is known to affect children’s verbal abilities and other physical, cognitive, and emotional development in psychological studies. However, the brain structural development associated with TV viewing has never been investigated. Here we examined cross-sectional correlations between the duration of TV viewing and regional gray/white matter volume (rGMV/rWMV) among 133 boys and 143 girls as well as correlations between the duration of TV viewing and longitudinal changes that occurred a few years later among 111 boys and 105 girls. After correcting for confounding factors, we found positive effects of TV viewing on rGMV of the frontopolar and medial prefrontal areas in cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses, positive effects of TV viewing on rGMV/rWMV of areas of the visual cortex in cross-sectional analyses, and positive effects of TV viewing on rGMV of the hypothalamus/septum and sensorimotor areas in longitudinal analyses. We also confirmed negative effects of TV viewing on verbal intelligence quotient (IQ) in cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. These anatomical correlates may be linked to previously known effects of TV viewing on verbal competence, aggression, and physical activity. In particular, the present results showed effects of TV viewing on the frontopolar area of the brain, which has been associated with intellectual abilities.
Key words
• children
• gray matter volume
• television
• verbal
• white matter volume
• © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com

Here is the press release from the Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University:

2013 | Press Release
Long term television viewing has a negative impact on higher cognitive brain functions such as developmental changes and verbal abilities in children: Caution should be exercised on extended TV viewing for developing children
2013.11.21 | Press Release , Achievement and Award , Achievements
Professor Ryuta Kawashima of the Division of Cognitive Neuroscience sponsored by Kumon Educational Japan Co., Ltd. at the Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University has clarified the development of brain anatomy, cerebral blood flow, and cerebral brain function in healthy children and is currently investigating how lifestyle habits affects the development of cognitive abilities and brain functions using brain function imaging devices such as MRI.
A research group headed by Associate Professor Hikaru Takeuchi and Professor Ryuta Kawashima using longitudinal follow-up data in children analyzed if TV viewing habits is associated with change over the years in verbal abilities and brain anatomy. It was discovered that watching TV over an extended period of time has a negative impact on areas of higher-order cognitive functions that includes the frontal pole of the brain. The findings suggest caution should be exercised on long time TV viewing in developing children.
Through brain image analysis, large scale data, and longitudinal data accumulated over the years and discovering the negative effects of viewing TV in children that adversely affects neural mechanisms such as verbal abilities, this innovative research was selected in the British scientific neuroscience journal Cerebral Cortex.
More information (Japanese)
Contact
Associate Professor Hikaru Takeuchi
Division of Cognitive Neuroscience
Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University
TEL: +81-22-717-8457
E-mail: takehi*idac.tohoku.ac.jp (Replace * with @)
If watching television is not an appropriate activity for toddlers, then what are appropriate activities? Family Education has a list of Developmental Activities by Age http://life.familyeducation.com/child-development/activities/63988.html

See, How to Have a Happier, Healthier, Smarter Baby http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/childrens-health/articles/2010/10/19/how-to-have-a-happier-healthier-smarter-baby

Parents must interact with their children and read to them. Television is not a parental substitute.
Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

If kids must watch television, parents must be selective about programs children watch

20 Feb

Moi said this in Play is as important for children as technology:

Let’s make this short and sweet. Park your kid in front of the television and you will probably be raising an overweight idiot. Tara Parker-Pope has a great post at the New York Times blog. In the post, TV For Toddlers Linked With Later Problems Parker-Pope reports:

Toddlers who watch a lot of television were more likely to experience a range of problems by the fourth grade, including lower grades, poorer health and more problems with school bullies, a new study reports.

The study of more than 1,300 Canadian schoolchildren tracked the amount of television children were watching at the ages of about 2 and 5. The researchers then followed up on the children in fourth grade to assess academic performance, social issues and general health.

On average, the schoolchildren were watching about nine hours of television each week as toddlers. The total jumped to about 15 hours as they approached 5 years of age. The average level of television viewing shown in the study falls within recommended guidelines. However, 11 percent of the toddlers were exceeding two hours a day of television viewing.

For those children, each hour of extra TV exposure in early childhood was associated with a range of issues by the fourth grade, according to the report published in the May issue of The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Compared with children who watched less television, those with more TV exposure participated less in class and had lower math grades. They suffered about 10 percent more bullying by classmates and were less likely to be physically active on weekends. They consumed about 10 percent more soft drinks and snacks and had body mass index scores that were about 5 percent higher than their peers.

Well duh, people. You probably already knew this. Guess why you have feet attached to your legs? So, you and the kids can walk around the neighborhood and the park. Better yet, why don’t you encourage your children to play.https://drwilda.com/2012/09/16/play-is-as-important-for-children-as-technology/

Seattle Children’s Hospital reports on a television study in the article, For children’s behavior, TV content as important as quantity:

Children imitate what they see on the screen, both good and bad behavior. This effect of television and video programming can be applied to positively impact children’s behavior according to a study published online in Pediatrics on Feb. 18. The study, “Modifying media content for preschool children: A randomized controlled trial,” was led by Dimitri Christakis, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Media diet study

Researchers in Seattle studied 565 families with children aged three to five years who spent at least some time watching TV or video content each week. Half of the families were randomly assigned to a “media diet” intervention while the other half, “the control group,” received a nutritional diet intervention designed to promote healthier eating habits. “For the media diet, we coached families on how to substitute prosocial and educational programs for violent ones,” said Christakis.

What is prosocial content?

Prosocial programming encourages children to be kind and to share, and portrays adults as dependable.

The intervention addressed all screen time (TV, DVDs and videos, computer, video games, handheld devices, etc.), but the primary focus was on TV and videos because this accounts for the vast majority of screen time in preschool-aged children.

How families followed a media diet

Families in both groups kept media diaries and provided details on the amount of time spent watching TV, videos and other types of screen time. The research team distributed monthly program guides and a sample DVD of prosocial content that would appeal to boys, girls and diverse populations. Families were also steered to Common Sense Media, which provides ratings for family movies, TV shows, websites and video games.

The intervention did not attempt to reduce the number of hours of screen time for the children, but it did encourage a positive media diet and co-viewing with parents. A case manager followed up with families regularly for 12 months. At six months and 12 months, the children in the media diet intervention group were spending significantly less time on violent programming than they did at the start of the study, compared to the control group.

Both the intervention and control groups increased viewing time slightly during the study, but the control group increased its minutes of violent content, while the intervention group increased its minutes of prosocial and educational content.

At six months, the children in the intervention group demonstrated significantly less aggression and more prosocial behavior compared to the control group, and the effect lasted throughout the 12 months. Christakis and team concluded that such an intervention can positively impact child behavior.

Content as important as quantity

We often focus on how much kids watch and don’t focus enough on what they watch,” Christakis said. “While too many children watch too much TV, this study shows that content is as important as quantity.  It isn’t just about turning off the TV, it’s about changing the channel.”

Christakis said the public health description for a media diet is that it’s a harm reduction approach, similar to a needle exchange, condom distribution or a methadone clinic for heroin addicts. “The media diet reduces the risks associated with TV,” he said.

What about parents who didn’t take part in the study? “Parents could absolutely implement the media diet on their own,” said Christakis.

Implement a media diet in your home: Dr. Christakis’ tips for parents

• Keep a media diary to make sure you’re aware of the TV and movies your child is watching
• Choose less violent and more prosocial content for your kids to watch, via sites like Common Sense Media
• Watch TV and movies with your children, so that you’re more aware of the content

Resources:

Promoting health early child development: An update and research agenda from the Christakis Lab, January 2013
New study links violent videos to sleep problems in preschool children, August 2012,
Pediatrics
Infant brains more engaged when playing with interactive toys: Study, July 2012,
Journal of Pediatrics
Powerpuff Girls vs. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Media impact on early childhood development, January 2012, TEDxRainier http://pulse.seattlechildrens.org/for-childrens-behavior-tv-content-as-important-as-quantity/

See, Study: Changing the Channel Could Lessen Bad Influence of TV http://www.educationnews.org/parenting/study-changing-the-channel-could-lessen-bad-influence-of-tv/

Citation:

Modifying Media Content for Preschool Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial

  1. Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPHa,b,
  2. Michelle M. Garrison, PhDa,c,
  3. Todd Herrenkohl, PhDd,
  4. Kevin Haggerty, MSWd,
  5. Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPHa,b,
  6. Chuan Zhou, PhDa,b, and
  7. Kimberly Liekweg, BAa

+ Author Affiliations

  1. aCenter for Child Health, Behavior, and Development, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle, Washington; and
  2. Departments of bPediatrics and
  3. cHealth Services, and
  4. dSchool of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Although previous studies have revealed that preschool-aged children imitate both aggression and prosocial behaviors on screen, there have been few population-based studies designed to reduce aggression in preschool-aged children by modifying what they watch.

METHODS: We devised a media diet intervention wherein parents were assisted in substituting high quality prosocial and educational programming for aggression-laden programming without trying to reduce total screen time. We conducted a randomized controlled trial of 565 parents of preschool-aged children ages 3 to 5 years recruited from community pediatric practices. Outcomes were derived from the Social Competence and Behavior Evaluation at 6 and 12 months.

RESULTS: At 6 months, the overall mean Social Competence and Behavior Evaluation score was 2.11 points better (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.78–3.44) in the intervention group as compared with the controls, and similar effects were observed for the externalizing subscale (0.68 [95% CI: 0.06–1.30]) and the social competence subscale (1.04 [95% CI: 0.34–1.74]). The effect for the internalizing subscale was in a positive direction but was not statistically significant (0.42 [95% CI: −0.14 to 0.99]). Although the effect sizes did not noticeably decay at 12 months, the effect on the externalizing subscale was no longer statistically significant (P = .05). In a stratified analysis of the effect on the overall scores, low-income boys appeared to derive the greatest benefit (6.48 [95% CI: 1.60–11.37]).

CONCLUSIONS: An intervention to reduce exposure to screen violence and increase exposure to prosocial programming can positively impact child behavior.

Published online February 18, 2013

(doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-1493)

  1. » Abstract

  2. Full Text (PDF)

In Television cannot substitute for quality childcare, moi wrote:

Sarah D. Sparks reports in the Education Week article, Is Television the New Secondhand Smoke?

Prior research suggests background television can have a “chronic disruptive impact on very young children’s behavior.” Studies have linked background television to less focused play among toddlers, poorer parent-child interaction, and interference with older students’ ability to do homework.

For every minute of television to which children are directly exposed, there are an
additional 3 minutes of indirect exposure, making background exposure a much greater
proportion of time in a young child’s day,” the study noted.

Considering the accumulating evidence regarding the impact that background television exposure has on young children, we were rather floored about the sheer scale of children’s exposure with just under 4 hours of exposure each day,” Lapierre said in a statement on the study. Lapierre and his fellow researchers recommended that parents, teachers and early childcare providers turn off televisions when no one is watching a particular program and that parents prevent children from keeping a television in their rooms.

It’s easy to think about this as just one more alarm about how our modern media environment is ruining our kids. Yet the more interesting take-away from this field of research is how critical it is for children to learn actively and socially. Children learn from adults speaking to, with and around them, and from actively engaging with their world.

Anything that limits or distracts from that active interaction can be a problem, but not an insurmountable one. For example, researchers at the University of Washington’s Learning in Formal and Informal Environments, or LIFE, Center, is doing some fascinating work on the potential benefits of interactive media. There’s also been some interesting work on using video conferencing to read with children. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2012/04/is_television_the_new_secondha.html?intc=es

If watching television is not an appropriate activity for toddlers, then what are appropriate activities? The University of Illinois Extension has a good list of Age-Based Activities For Toddlers

See, How to Have a Happier, Healthier, Smarter Baby

Parents must interact with their children and read to them. Television is not a parental substitute. https://drwilda.com/2012/04/23/television-cannot-substitute-for-quality-childcare/

Related:

Study: Children subject to four hours background television daily                                                                              https://drwilda.com/2012/10/02/study-children-subject-to-fours-background-television-daily/

Common Sense Media report: Media choices at home affect school performance                                                               https://drwilda.com/2012/11/01/common-sense-media-report-media-choices-at-home-affect-school-performance/

Where information leads to Hope. ©                 Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                          http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                                 http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                      https://drwilda.com/