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Baby watching TV - is it really that bad?

(20 Posts)
Mumtoason Tue 04-Feb-14 20:31:28


My 8 month old seems to love the TV - he will watch anything that happens to be on, but is particularly keen on some of the sketches on 'Baby TV'.

He will sometimes watch TV open mouthed and will look around people to see the TV - all of which I find a bit worrying tbh.

All of my mummy friends allow their children to watch TV, and, in most households I know, a TV is on all the time as background noise etc (sad I suppose, but a sign of the times perhaps!).

So my questions are, is TV really be damaging to babies? And how? Why is it so frowned upon to allow babies to watch TV?

I don't want TV to become an issue in any way, I'd like him to grow up a bit blasé about TV, iPads, iPhones etc etc.

What do you do? TV on all the time; TV free days; no TV at all ever?


callamia Tue 04-Feb-14 20:40:57

Research suggests the TV on, even as background noise, may have an effect on language development. I don't think babies are as adept at tuning out backgrounds noise as we are.

That said, televisions are a pretty unavoidable pat of our lives, so none at all would be a little artificial, and children aren't damaged by watching a bit - some of it might even be instructive wink

I mainly have the TV off during the day, but my baby is younger than yours and he wouldn't understand anything anyway - he just likes the movement. I don't want it need background noise - I can talk to and play with him without distraction. I don't plan to let him watch a lot of television as he gets older, but I will definitely not be above popping something on while I take a shower/make lunch/etc. I also quite like the idea of a movie afternoon or similar - something we can share rather than it being a solitary thing.

stargirl1701 Tue 04-Feb-14 20:42:41

Some info here:

stargirl1701 Tue 04-Feb-14 20:43:59

And here:

Mumtoason Tue 04-Feb-14 21:18:20

Thanks Stargirl1701, the last link looks like good stuff

Paintyfingers Tue 04-Feb-14 21:19:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SavoyCabbage Tue 04-Feb-14 21:33:01

Was going to say that my nephews speech therapist told them no tv at all but was beaten to it.grin

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Tue 04-Feb-14 21:34:35

I don't think I know many families that have the tv on during the day... Although it could just be they turn it off when I come in!!

Sammie101 Tue 04-Feb-14 21:52:06

My tv is on most of the day as background noise, I feel a bit bad now hmm

My DD is 6 months and she likes to stare at it, probably for all the colours. But she likes to randomly sit and tilt her head in the most awkward of positions to stare at the one patch of magnolia ceiling that for some reason she finds fascinating!

furlinedsheepskinjacket Tue 04-Feb-14 21:55:50

pah. of course tv is bad for your child if that is their main activity each and every day.dd was a screaming non sleeper so she was often plonked in front of tv in her car seat.she was v active and an extremely early talker.
I can't see the problem as long as they have lots of other activity/interaction too.

Karoleann Tue 04-Feb-14 22:29:20

It depends how much its on. DC2&DC3 were never bother about the TV, so didn't watch til 2ish.
DC1 loved it and was a difficult baby too so we probably had it on 30 minutes x 2 a day and it was great.

Its not something you want in the background though

Mummyjetsetter Tue 04-Feb-14 23:16:37

Probably up for a lot of criticism here but my ds has always loved tv and watches quite a lot, he spoke early, learned numbers ridiculously early and was very smart very young, he's almost 4 and this hasn't changed, most kids tv is very educational. My ds actually turns his tv off now if he fancies doing some jigsaws or something so I'm quite pleased I haven't been too strict as he seems to manage a good balance by himself. My dd 4 months has just started staring at tv but doesn't care what's on. In my opinion as long as you try to educate and stimulate your kids the in between bits don't matter. There are people who constantly interact with their kids and that's not always the best thing either, kids need to entertain themselves too an exctent. X

babyhedgehog Tue 04-Feb-14 23:31:21

I asked my Mum about this when I was worried about putting my six month old in front of Mr Tumble when I washed up. My little girl goes quiet and stares, smiling from time to time. My Mum said said my brother used to love the A-Team when he was a baby and now he has a Phd in physics...who knew!? ;)

I don't think it's something to worry about unless they are watching it excessively.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Tue 04-Feb-14 23:48:06

Having it on all day/ large part of the day is excessively though isn't it? Or at least what's being talked about.

I don't think there's any problem with putting a programme on while you do something (we do that, as well as the dreaded night garden before bed, simply as the toddler loves the beginning of it - we often don't watch all of it!). When I had bad morning sickness I used the tv more than I would like to, but it was a means to an end (and the child loved numtums, I agree it can be educational...)

However there's a huge leap between the odd programme and using it as "background noise" or on all day? I don't think my first child watched any tv until she was 2 (the recommendation I think? Then after that its less than 2 hours isn't it?) but the second child had the tv on simply as the first was watching it!

babyhedgehog Wed 05-Feb-14 00:01:51

I'd say that having it on for the best part of the day is excessive. I suppose the danger is that it's very easy to get swept up in watching something and before you know it, two hours have passed without even a few words spoken to the poor little mite.

I'd say having it on for a few hours a day is ok though? I don't know about you, but I can't play with my LO the entire day or I'd go loony! I often read when she's having a roll around, and sometimes read whatever I'm reading out loud - even the newspaper!) and telly watch when she's asleep.

Mumtoason Wed 05-Feb-14 08:55:46

Thanks all. Clearly, I know too many people who have the TV on a lot of the time. As for my little one he will get plonked in the bouncer in front of Baby TV if I need to make a call or if I need to pull a meal together, so I feel reassured this isn't child abuse wink

He does love it almost obsessively so when this happens however.

Think from what people have said tho I may descretly ask for TVs to be turned of at friends and family's if we are there for any length of time.

Rooners Wed 05-Feb-14 09:07:43

Ours is on quite a bit because of the older ones. But ds (12mo) only really likes the Night Garden. Last night he danced through the whole thing.

gretagrape Wed 05-Feb-14 09:35:52

I can't find a link but I'm sure there was a report out within the last few months that shows that exposure to tv under the age of two can potentially have a detrimental effect on childrens' development because of the way our brains process the images, and babies' brains are obviously a lot more 'mouldable' than adults' brains. They said that this is especially true of modern programmes because they have much more fast-paced editing compared to tv of years ago which was basically one static camera in a studio, and it's this constant change of screen/flashes of colour etc that the brain has to adapt to in order to process it.
Doesn't matter whether it's baby tv or Eastenders - it's the way that the brain reacts to it that makes me uncomfortable, and on the very odd occasion when my son has seen some tv I always turn it straight off precisely because he stares transfixed and open-mouthed at it, like some zombie from Doctor Who!

naty1 Wed 05-Feb-14 19:54:59

My LG didnt watch much until 1. The tv was on but she just wasnt interested until we started putting kids tv on. I only put at most 2 hrs a day on mainly at food times.
She still doesnt watch adult tv and will wander around playing.
So far it hasnt affected her language.
Though most of her words are from real life not tv only some character names. They do pick words up more quickly when things are pointed out and they repeat them.
From tv we have only circus, clown, mooly wooly, tickly toc, tommy, talolah, fifi,
which isnt a lot out of her 250 or so words
Although she may have some numbers from numtums

MiaowTheCat Thu 06-Feb-14 08:21:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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