Under 2 Should Be Doers, Not Viewers
Edmonds, WA (Oct 26, 2011) – Psychologist and child development author Dr. Gregory Jantz endorsed a recent major policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics that urges parents to keep their children "screen free" during the first two years of life.
Television, video and computer programs – including ones purportedly designed for infants and toddlers – have no educational benefits for kids under 2 and even pose developmental risks, the AAP concludes based on research conducted since 1999.
"Very young children are still figuring out the world around them at the most basic level," says Dr. Jantz. "Children under 2 learn and develop best through creative play and experimenting with their environment. TV screens and computer monitors can't offer anything developmentally appropriate for kids under 2. They need to interact with real people and objects rather than virtual ones."
Dr. Jantz is the founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, a treatment facility in Edmonds, WA that has specialized in whole-person care for those facing major life challenges since 1984. Dr. Jantz is also the author of several books on children and family, of which the most recent is a book for parents of adolescents called The Stranger in Your House.
The AAP first issued a statement discouraging television viewing for children under 2 more than a decade ago, and released a more definitive policy statement last week based on research data accumulated since then. One of the most alarming findings has been that heavy media viewing by young children puts them at greater risk for language development delays once they start school, although the reason for this effect are not completely understood.
Studies have also shown that television viewing around bedtime can cause poor sleep habits in young children, which in turn can be detrimental to mood, behavior and learning. The AAP advises parents not to place TV sets in the bedrooms of young children. Also, parents are cautioned to be aware of how their own media usage could affect their children's development, such as potentially decreasing crucial parent-child interaction and distracting children from creative play.
Dr. Jantz can be reached for further comment at The Center at 1-888-771-5166. The Stranger in Your House and Dr. Jantz's other books about raising happy, healthy children can be purchased through The Center's website.
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