Crankier babies may get more TV time
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.