It is difficult to protect a child from gadgets in the modern world. TV is now fading into the background due to the abundance of laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other more convenient equipment. Many parents nevertheless continue to use it as an entertainment tool for their children. Is tv bad for babies? What is its main harm and is there any benefit? Let’s take a closer look at these issues.
The negative side of the TV
The harm from watching TV is much greater than the likely benefits. Let’s consider the most obvious and little predictable dangers that watching TV carries for a baby:
Bad for eyesight
Improper dosage of visual load in infancy often leads to early visual impairment. Fast frame changes, image brightness, and a large number of small details put an inappropriate age burden on the organs of vision. Watching TV reduces the number of blinks. This dries out the eyes and makes them more vulnerable to infections and viruses.
Influence on the nervous system
The brain is not fully mature in infancy. It is unable to memorize and process large amounts of information. TV gives too much intellectual load for babies. As a result – overexcitation, increased anxiety, aggressiveness, and sleep disturbances. Kids are not able to correctly analyze what they see, assess the situation, and draw mature conclusions. TV does not help the child to filter information and process it.
Lack of interaction for cognition
TV is not a living person, not an animal, and not a studied subject. What you see on the screen cannot be felt, touched, smelled, or realized. A child under 2 years of age needs to learn to interact with other people, objects, and phenomena. TV dulls the perception of the world and gives a false idea of the phenomena based only on the visual picture and sound.
Inhibition of development
Watching TV relaxes the child. He ceases to think, analyze, take the initiative, and connect the imagination. Children begin to look like “zombies” for whom the TV is a hypnotic tool. On TV, all the answers are immediately given without the right to find them on your own. Excessive sitting at the blue screen makes the brain lazy and significantly slows down its development.
Abuse of the TV reduces the time of active games. Passivity becomes the main occupation. Children who tend to be TV viewers stop running, jumping, and playing sports a lot. They have little interest in walking and constantly ask for visual entertainment. This is bad for health, increases body weight, and reduces muscle tone.
Wrong development of emotional intelligence
Parents who allow children to watch TV often from infancy are missing out on a priceless part of parenting. Emotional intelligence is an important psychological basis for a healthy personality. Cartoons, films, and children’s shows throw in false and incorrect examples of emotional reactions. The kid takes them as a standard for his behavior.
Most cartoons and films are not designed for infancy. They do not take into account the immaturity of the psyche and the response of the child. Their plots are based on conflicts, comparisons, resentment, envy, and other complex feelings and reactions.
Failures in the development of social skills
Constant sitting behind the TV screen deprives the child of socialization. He does not want to participate in natural contact, communication, and joint play. Lost basic social skills. The children of “TV viewers” have poorly developed skills to establish contacts, resolve conflicts, and organize group interactions.
Risk of mental disorders
A child can easily get serious psychological trauma if you do not dose and control watching cartoons and TV shows. This is fraught with mental problems and neuroses. A kid who accidentally saw violence, bloody scenes, terrible events, or aggression can lose sleep, develop neurosis, and start peeing in bed.
Inadequate eating behavior
A very large percentage of children do not eat well. Moms resort to the standard technique in such a situation – to feed while watching a cartoon. This is a fatal error. The child loses control of satiety, he does not understand when he is full and when he is not. Food is poorly chewed and not digested.
The child begins to gain weight in this situation and gets a whole bunch of related problems: increased gas formation and pancreatic disease due to overfeeding.
TV, tablet, laptop, and phone – these are all equally harmful gadgets. They cause a serious form of addiction in children. It is difficult for children to get out of such an addiction. Their brain gets used to easy and accessible emotions.
Fast, bright, and emotionally colored cartoon plots are difficult to replace with ordinary life and its interesting moments. The child begins to enter the “withdrawal” when the “dose” is reduced. He is hysterical, protests, and refuses to eat.
Lack of creativity and freedom of thinking
Watching TV completely turns off creative thinking. The child receives everything at once on the screen. Any creative skills stop working. Why invent something if you can get a lot of entertainment passively?
Such children do not know what to do when there is no access to a visual picture. They cannot occupy themselves, they are not able to fantasize, they do not like role-playing games and they do not integrate well into interactions with peers.
Speech development inhibition
This negative side of watching TV is linked to the development of the brain. The lack of live communication suppresses the cognitive functions of the brain. The child does not try to pronounce sounds on his own, and then words. He gets a lot of speech defects and pushes back the time of coherent communication. It has been proven that children later begin to speak in sentences if they have been abused watching TV. They have a very poor vocabulary and a lot of wrong words.
Violation of posture
Everyone often forgets about this negative moment. Children are most often static when watching television content. They are located in unnatural poses on an armchair and a sofa. They can get scoliosis, complex curvature, stoop, spending a long time in such positions.
Until what age is it better not to watch TV?
Leading pediatricians and psychologists do not recommend that children watch TV at least until 18 months. The early development that most moms refer to is a false statement. Toddlers can look very closely at the bright change in pictures and movement, but their brain is not able to find the meaning of everything that is happening.
By 18-24 months, the brain develops to the point where pictures and bizarre shapes on the screen become associated with equivalent objects from real life. The child needs a live game for development up to this age. He needs to feel the object, touch it, touch people, and hug mom and dad.
Watching TV up to 1.5 years old means depriving the child of the opportunity to quickly evaluate himself as a separate person and part of the living world. Little “viewers” often confuse reality with the illusory world of the TV screen.
Is there any potential benefit of TV?
Single mothers who do not have help from loved ones, a nanny, or a kindergarten, can argue about the harm of the TV. They stubbornly claim that the kid likes it and he only watches cartoons. The benefits of watching television in infancy are only relative. Let’s describe the potential positive aspects of using this tool:
Rest for mom
It is extremely difficult to give yourself at least a minute of attention with children under 3 years old. The mother is completely immersed in caring for the child, ensuring his life, nutrition, and hygiene. Mom can relax at least for tens of minutes, cook dinner, and drink a cup of coffee thanks to the TV. Only mothers who spend all day in the house will understand this.
A way to stop the tantrum
Children are emotionally unstable. They often fall into tantrums that parents try to stop by any means. Watching gadgets or a bright cartoon on TV can stop a tantrum very quickly. It’s not the best option but it works.
The development of the outlook
Children can watch programs about nature, animals, and science in addition to cartoons. It is not bad to learn a foreign language, broadcast psychological developmental exercises, and interactive classes.
You can dedicate a movie night. Get the whole family together and watch a good feature film or cartoon. It brings together, introduces traditions, and teaches family values and important relationship skills.
How long is it permissible to watch TV?
Everything is fine if you stood up with dignity and did not let your baby watch TV or other gadgets for up to 2 years. Watching cartoons after this age should be dosed. No more than 20 minutes in a row during the day are allowed. Naturally, it is difficult to maintain such a norm. The main thing is not to let the one-time view duration exceed the specified time. The older the baby, the less likely he is to earn negative consequences from watching TV. You can allow up to 50 minutes of TV viewing at preschool age.
What can children watch on TV?
We understand that family situations can be different. Not every mother has a nanny or house helpers. Try to be very careful when choosing TV shows. Always set a child block to view adult content. Children very quickly figure out how to change the channel, adjust the sound or select the desired TV show. Check out our content selection tips:
Before you freely let a cartoon or program watch, preview it without a child. Identify shortcomings and evaluate age limits. In most TV shows, they are indicated initially. Prepare answers to likely questions or situations that need to be discussed with the child.
Give preference to simple good stories without dynamics. Do not allow watching cartoons with emotional tension, hidden aggression, and conflict situations. The cartoon should be slightly slow for adults.
Musical cartoons, TV shows, and educational videos are well-suited for infancy. They are simple, do not strain the brain, and do not give meaningful plots. Let the kid dance and sing along with the characters.
Interactive cartoons in which there is an emphasis on the development of speech and communication skills work well. They encourage the baby to answer questions and give them time to think. Such TV shows can remain positive only if they are designed for the age of the baby.
Content Approved by pediatricians and psychologists
Study the proposed content deeper than a simple user. Look at the author of the story. If this is a practicing psychologist with experience working with children, then choose him. Do not confuse cartoons for special children with those designed for ordinary children.