yesterday, tv was such an easy game to play

I was going to write in my post yesterday about how I’d finally caved. Yesterday I did the thing I never thought I’d do. I put the boy in the Baby Einstein jumper thingy, and stuck him in front of the TV with a Baby Einstein DVD.

I stayed nearby and said things like “Wow, look at the bubbles.” And “Pretty, red, spinning top.” (A propos of the study that came out blaming BE DVDs for delayed language development, and the president of the company going on Larry King Live to defend her product: They’re video ‘board books.’ You’re supposed to watch them with the child and talk to them about the images, she said, essentially.)

The boy seemed to enjoy the video more this time than the first time we’d all watched it together — then more out of curiosity than for me to get a break.

He’s seen it one other time with Scott also. Three full viewings.

I’m hyper aware of that fact now that a study has come out linking TV watching with autism. You’d think I would have been scared by the ADHD links previously discovered, but since I’d never read an article about it (until today), I was only mildly concerned up to now. As in, “Honey, cover the boy’s eyes while I fast forward through the commercials.”

Not that we let him watch much TV. (This statement may be tantamount to admitting to spanking or worse.) Just that sometimes we let him watch with us for a bit, occasionally.

I’m not sure if the weeks and weeks of newborn nursing marathons during which I barely recall leaving the bed and during which I watched copious amounts of TV — would those count as harmful too? I’m thinking not since the boy wasn’t looking at it. Cross fingers.

Back then, during those early months, I remember mentioning to the pediatrician that I was watching a lot of TV while nursing and asking if it would harm the baby and he just shrugged and raised his eyebrows — cryptic, yet seeming to convey that it might not be a good idea but he wasn’t going to tell me what to do. He could have been more helpful than that. But again, we no longer see that pediatrician.

Here’s an excerpt from the article (first line refers to all video-type media, cell phones, computer games, etc. — oh wait, what if that means computer screens too???):

If screen images cause harm to brain development in the young, the proliferation of these TV-like devices may bode ill for the future. The aggressive marketing of Teletubbies, Baby Einstein videos, and similar products intended to encourage television watching by toddlers may turn out to have been a nightmarish mistake.

If television viewing by toddlers is a factor in autism, the parents of afflicted children should not reproach themselves, as there was no warning of this risk. Now there is: The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends against any TV for children under the age of 2. Waldman thinks that until more is known about what triggers autism, families with children under the age of 3 should get them away from the television and keep them away.

Researchers might also turn new attention to study of the Amish. Autism is rare in Amish society, and the standing assumption has been that this is because most Amish refuse to vaccinate children. The Amish also do not watch television.

That’s it. I’m moving to the country and raising goats.

4 comments for “yesterday, tv was such an easy game to play

  1. July 31, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    My pediatrician told us about the Pediatric Society’s warning against ALL tv under age 2 – at least 6 years ago.

    The link to autism is new – if there is a link. I have not heard that anybody has definitively linked TV to autism.

    However, I have heard (from my mother’s friend the researcher and national chair of some big children’s development society) that TV really is bad for their brain development.

    OTOH we did let our kids watch tv. The older one saw none until after age two, but the younger one did get TV under 2. SOmetimes I worry that he’s not a brilliant genius like I was at his age because of the TV. Oh well.

    back to the pediatricians’ ban – it’s so radical that people don’t want to believe it. However I think it’s probably really the right idea. And those doctors are conservative – they wouldn’t issue such a ban without a lot of good evidence.

    Maybe a little tv here and there won’t hurt, but really the tots need to be spending time moving around, listening to people talk to them or to each other, exploring, using body. Any amount of time watching TV cuts into time doing these crucial developmental tasks.

    My guys are mostly off TV now but they would play computer games all day if we let them. We don’t. However I’m noticing that this summer after a long day at camp they tend to whine for computer after dinner, and then they aren’t reading a book or something. They do read at bedtime.

    Tonight they’re playing with the new Star Wars action figures so no computer either. I haven’t seen much of this sort of play since they got into the computer games. I’m going to tell hubby we have to lay off the computer.

    You don’t have to raise goats. Just let the kid explore and if he’s driving you nuts, let him play outside in the patio, or on the kitchen floor with the pots and pans.

  2. July 31, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    Yeah, this was the same pediatrician who told us not to bother with Tummy Time.

    But you don’t understand. I WANT to raise goats. :-)

  3. July 31, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Hey, dwarf goats for urban lots. It’s a new crunchy green blogger thing. You would not be the first. A goat would like your property a lot, would keep your kitchen scraps nicely composted and trim your weeds (and everything else).

    You should look into it. Goat milk!

    A West Oakland urban farmer with at least one goat:

    we just missed her open house. She’ll have another…

  4. August 2, 2008 at 1:42 am

    My money is on the vaccines in regards to autism. I mean, my mom didn’t know any better and I was raised on copious amounts of tv. You know, I watched like full days of tv growing up – no autism here. Now I watch maybe an hour of tv so I’ve made some progress there. Maybe you have to have some predisposition to it. I have given up on these types of studies in general though. It always seems like there is one study contradicting another, and none of the data seems all that concrete. I try to go with my gut instincts. Tv is definitely not natural.

    We try to limit tv watching as much as we can, but we are currently living in a household with 3 large tvs and over 300 channels, definitely not our choice. We use to just have one small tv and 20 channels. Any tv is PBS or bust. I wouldn’t drive myself crazy about it. Sometimes mommies need a short break to take care of the essentials- bathroom breaks, cooking meals, sanity breaks, etc.

    NoMasNinos’s last blog post..No Clothing Required

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