With the “new” TV season just launching what an appropriate time for The American Academy of Pediatrics to release an article (to be published in November Pediatrics) which looks at kids and their exposure to “background TV”. 

In the study researchers conducted a survey to track children’s exposure to background television. They found that children between 8 months and 8 years of age are exposed to an average of 4 hours of background TV in a 24-hour period. Children who were younger or those from poorer homes were exposed to up to 6 hours per day.  Having the television on when no one was watching or having a TV in a child’s room were other factors that contributed to even more background TV time.  

I have watched a few of the new shows and I am continually amazed at the language that is on during prime time major network television, and forget about the cable channels, I think they can use any language they please.  It certainly grabs my attention and I am sure that hearing that language for hours every day does not help a young child’s vocabulary. At least with appropriate new words! Little kids are parrots, remember. 

Just recently I was seeing a cute 2 year old for his check up and on the list of the parent’s questions was, “talk about child’s swearing”.  Now this is a lovely young couple, their only child (Mom also told me that day that she is expecting again) and they really did not know what to do about a few of the words that their son had picked up.  They did not think that he heard the words from them but were concerned about his day care or his older cousins. Maybe background TV?? 

If you are have the TV on all day, think about who is around and if you are even listening or watching. I would encourage parents to have less TV time and more talk time with their children.  Too much TV and even background TV can harm a child’s learning as well as their social play. 

And if you are thinking about letting your child have a TV in their rooms, I would discourage this for a number of reasons including the language on TV. Tell your children they can have a TV when they have their own dorm room in college! Something to look forward to.