Patt Morrison for October 25, 2011

Warning! No TV for children under 2; SpongeBob may also be bad

Apple Ipad

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

A young girl holds an Apple iPad on display at Regent Street's Apple store on May 28, 2010, in London, England.

Limit tube time for children under age two, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In 1999, the same group recommended parents ban almost all television watching and complete a “media history” to show their doctors how much time kids spent in front of the TV. This year they conceded that the 1999 approach may have been a bit unrealistic.

The group claims that there is no educational benefit for the youngsters and TV time takes away from more important ways to learn. By interacting with people and objects, rather than watching visuals on a screen, children develop their “executive functions,” or the cognitive process by which they organize, pay attention, multi-task and take action. In a different study, researchers found that preschoolers who had watched SpongeBob tested with poorer executive function than those who colored with markers.


How does all this new technology impact a child’s mental development and more practically speaking how might it impact a busy mom’s built in babysitter?


Ari Brown, pediatrician in private practice; lead author of “Media Use in Children Under Age 2”

Ellen Wartella, professor of Communication, Psychology, Human Development and
Social Policy, Northwestern University

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