Crankier ba­bies may get more TV time

Daily Trust - - HEALTH -

the study and pointed to a po­ten­tial risk from us­ing TV as a way to dis­tract trou­ble­some kids.

At is­sue, he said, is whether the child is learn­ing a valu­able way to cope. “We all use the me­dia as a cop­ing strat­egy. You have a hard day at work, and you just want to flop in front of the TV. But dis­trac­tion is a low-level prob­lem-solv­ing strat­egy. What if that’s the only skill you’ve got?”

Gen­tile ac­knowl­edged that ques­tions re­main. For ex­am­ple, he said, re­searchers haven’t de­ter­mined if screen time might ac­tu­ally make fussy and de­mand­ing kids even more fussy and de­mand­ing.

In a sec­ond study in the same jour­nal, re­searchers at MassGen­eral Hospi­tal for Chil­dren and the Har­vard School of Pub­lic Health found an as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween more TV view­ing/hav­ing a TV in the bed­room in early child­hood and shorter sleep, es­pe­cially among mi­nor­ity chil­dren.

What’s next for re­search? Radesky said a study to be re­leased soon will shed light on what kids are ac­tu­ally watch­ing when they get “screen time.” The cur­rent study doesn’t ex­am­ine the con­tent of pro­gram­ming, mean­ing there’s no way to know if it’s ed­u­ca­tional.

“I re­ally want to know if this is a good thing,” she said. “Are par­ents get­ting a break from their more in­tense chil­dren by putting [them] in front of ed­u­ca­tional me­dia? Or is it worse be­cause they’re miss­ing out on more ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties?”

The study was pub­lished on­line April 14 and ap­pears in the May is­sue of the jour­nal Pe­di­atrics.

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