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 Salon.com 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.