TV has been both challenging or maybe to learn nothing.
(A separate issue altogether is the idea of handing your child a tablet or smartphone in the hopes that they might learn something from an app. Research shows that children under the age of five have an exceedingly challenging time learning from a 2D screen and translating that into the 3D world without help, so unless you’re right next to your kid, playing along, you should probably give up on the idea that it’s enriching.)
Date: 3/4/2022 1:57:16 AM ( 11 mon ) ... viewed 273 times
Firstly, today’s children’s programming is wildly more fast-paced and frenetic than programming of yore. Watch a few minutes of The Powerpuff Girls, which cuts every few seconds and sprouts neon colors that might render your TV visible from outer space, and it feels like snorting four tablespoons of espresso. Compare this to older children’s programs like Mister Rogers, shot by a single camera and featuring a man who speaks at half the speed he puts on his cardigan, and you’ll immediately see the difference. The rapid cuts common in newer children’s shows cue the brain to perk up and refocus attention; scientists call this an “orienting response.” The more cuts in a given minute, the worse it is for your child.
“By design, television programs exploit our orienting response,” write Drs Dimitri Christakis and Frederick Zimmerman in The Elephant in the Living Room, which explores the effect of television on children. With few exceptions, there are more quick cuts now than there were before. For a glimpse at the upshot, take this horrifying finding from one of Christakis’ studies: for every hour of daily television that a child aged 0-3 watches, the child’s risk of developing attention problems consistent with ADHD increases by 9%.
Secondly, one of the activities most important for developing brains is the kind known in academic and medical fields as “serve and return interactions” – and the presence of screens dramatically reduces them.
The idea is that the more communication a child experiences and the more she or he is exposed to language, the more resilient and successful and social she or he will go on to be.
Television is slightly better for children if you, the parent, “participate” in the experience of watching and engage them in conversation about what they’re watching. But to do so you have to be able to see the screen. Which led me to one of my biggest takeaways: don’t hand your child a personal tablet if you can help it. Watch on as big a screen as you’ve got.
“If you do, you could extend the learning,” she said. “Talk about, or act out, the story” after watching. “That’s when they learn.
Use it as a springboard.”
Research shows that children under the age of five have an exceedingly challenging time learning from a 2D screen and translating that into the 3D world without help, so unless you’re right next to your kid, playing along, you should probably give up on the idea that it’s enriching.)
Sophie Brickman is a contributor to the New Yorker, the New York Times and other publications, and the author of Baby, Unplugged: One Mother’s Search for Balance, Reason, and Sanity in the Digital Age (forthcoming from HarperOne).
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