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Author Topic: TV = BAD? What exactly does the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend?  (Read 19224 times)
The Architect
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« on: April 29, 2011, 01:56:59 PM »

Many of you probably have read about the recent controversy stirred up by the Today Show over YBCR and teaching babies to read in October last year, and again recently when the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) joined in the attack.

If you haven't read it yet, I recommend reading Dr. Richard Gentry's blog post on this: "Is There a "Baby Can Read" Witch Hunt?".  Particularly fascinating were the comments the blog attracted, including a post by CCFC who were obviously not very pleased with what Dr. Gentry wrote.

One of the later comments then brought up a point about how CCFC twisted the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)'s recommendations regarding babies and screen time as supposed 'evidence' against YBCR. 

Sadly, I don't think CCFC are the first or only ones to represent/misrepresent the AAP's recommendation to be something that's absolute (ie., NO screen time for children under two, PERIOD).

So what did the AAP actually say?  Here's the recommendation regarding babies and TV:

- Discourage television viewing for children younger than 2 years, and encourage more interactive activities that will promote proper brain development, such as talking, playing, singing, and reading together.

Firstly, notice that they say "discourage", not something as absolute as "no screen time" which we hear so often.

Secondly, notice that it follows on to say that they encourage "interactive activities... such as... reading together".

The whole point about this policy is that we should not simply be putting our young children in front of TVs unsupervised and without any interaction, which is what many parents often and easily do when it comes to letting children watch TV. 

I'll be the first to raise my hand as someone who has been guilty of doing that.  Sometimes, that's the easiest way to occupy our children when we need to take time off to tend to something else or to just take a break! 

So the point of this is that we should try our best not to, because:

1. Children need INTERACTION
(This has also been borne out by a recent study. See here.)

2. Some CONTENT can be unsuitable and unhealthy.

In addition, the AAP also has these recommendations:

- Monitor the shows children and adolescents are viewing. Most programs should be informational, educational, and nonviolent.

- View television programs along with children, and discuss the content. Two recent surveys involving a total of nearly 1500 parents found that less than half of parents reported always watching television with their children.

Notice the pattern?

So, if we are sitting with our children, interacting with them, and even reading to/with them, while watching content that is educational, and all the while doing so in a fun and loving way, do you really think the AAP would wag their finger and say, "Uh uh... Not recommended! No TV under age of 2!"

What do you think?

The full policy statement can be found here:;107/2/423


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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2011, 08:22:05 PM »

Makes sense to me, KL.  Looks like a good BrillKids Blog post!


Larry Sanger -
How and Why I Taught My Toddler to Read:
Papa to two little boys, 6 and 1
Ayesha Nicole
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« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2011, 10:13:22 PM »

Since they are knowingly misquoting/misrepreseting AAP guidelines, I am very curious to know more of their reasoning as stated in first statement in the Introduction of the FTC complaint:

"The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (hereafter “CCFC”) asks the Federal
Trade Commission to bring an action against Your Baby Can, LLC and its founder and
spokesperson Dr. Robert Titzer (collectively “YBC”) for engaging in deceptive acts and
practices in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act."

* * *

Federal Trade Commission Act
Section 5:  Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices

* * *

Is anyone familiar with these experts that were consulted and mentioned in this article?:

* * *

And how is CCRC defining "reading"?  And to what extent is memorization (which is repetition) involved in reading?  Quite a bit as I understand it, based on a previous post by DomanMom and the jumbled up words that are decipherable because we have memorized the words and can figure it out the message.  I am looking for that post - or that research that was also done by Harvard, if I remember correctly.  Anyone know what I am referring to?

« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 10:49:50 PM by Ayesha Nicole » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2011, 11:00:05 PM »

Alright - found the post by DomanMom:

Re: The phonics debate
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2008, 02:36:02 PM »

and she cites this Cambridge [not Harvard] Study, which is further explained here:

"Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Or rather...
According to a researcher (sic) at Cambridge University, it doesn't matter in what order the letters in a word are, the only important thing is that the first and last letter be at the right place. The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without problem. This is because the human mind does not read every letter by itself but the word as a whole."

This text circulated on the internet in September 2003. I first became aware of it when a journalist contacted a my colleague Sian Miller on 16th September, trying to track down the original source. It's been passed on many times, and in the way of most internet memes has mutated along the way. It struck me as interesting - especially when I received a version that mentioned Cambridge University! I work at Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, in Cambridge, UK, a Medical Research Council unit that includes a large group investigating how the brain processes language. If there's a new piece of research on reading that's been conducted in Cambridge, I thought I should have heard of it before...

I've written this page, to try to explain the science behind this meme. There are elements of truth in this, but also some things which scientists studying the psychology of language (psycholinguists) know to be incorrect. I'm going to break down the meme, one line at a time to illustrate these points, pointing out what I think is the relevant research on the role of letter order on reading. Again, this is only my view of the current state of reading research, as it relates to this meme. If you think I've missed something important, let me know [].


« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 11:01:47 PM by Ayesha Nicole » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2011, 10:25:22 AM »

Being the firstborns of four children with both parents away most of the time making me feel abandoned during my childhood. During weekends my parents were at home but they were busy with housechores and when my mom done with the kitchen, she would knit, knit and knit. haha! She liked to knit doily for the couches and I will watch her from afar, usually from the corner of the room playing alone and watch her again and then play again. She didn't like me go near her and touch her things. The truth is I don't remember if she ever spoke to me when I was little. But during that time the knowledge is limited and my mom worked really hard and twenty-five years ago life wasn't easy so I totally understand it. However, I said to myself I will try my best to interact with my children as much as I can. Especially when they are very young, I think the attention is crucial because it will affect the self-confidence and self-esteem for the rest of the baby's life. I'm such a timid person, I think it got to do with how the caregiver took care of me. As my auntie told me, she flies often and she would visited me when she had time and always found me crying with wet diaper and it actually dripping out of the swing I was lying in. She still mad about it until now. haha.

Having said that, when my daughter was born, nicely wrapped in a blanket, or sat nicely in her place, I would bring her around the house and put her by my side while I hang the laundry, cooking, cleaning etc. We watched TV and read together and if she practised walking in the playpen or walker I would be there too and encouraged her.

And now, one and a half year later, my own method almost drive me crazy!  LOL  LOL . I couldn't go anywhere without her see me in the house. She wouldn't sit in the playpen just for 5seconds. Cooking the dinner I have to carry her in hiker carrier on my back but she will sit in her highchair on her cooperative days. I said to myself, gee maybe I did it wrong?? If I'm around she wont do anything on her own even if she's splish splashing in the inflatables tub and I'm just right next to her hanging the laundry-she wont play! She wants me to sit next to the tub and splish spllash with her..cry ....helppp....I keep telling my brain 'this is what I want, this is what I want' and deal with it. Any tips?

Hmm..I think because of this misquoting/misrepresenting the idea of early learning made few people walk away when I told them I teach my baby to read. For some who actually asked, I will tell in detail and eliminate all confusions they have in mind.  It will be such a waste if people ignore this one oppotunity for their kids to learn better at early age just because of this misconception..

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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2011, 04:43:07 PM »

I only use YBCR, Elmo & short videos on youtube with my soon to be 20 months. That's all the screen time she gets so it's a treat and I only play them when she is crabby or time for me to prep dinner. (Or sometimes when I have 10-15 minutes chores to do) She does pick up some things from them which is nice to see and I can pop in and out whenever I can to "interact" with her instead of have her sit in the kitchen floor and play with pots and pants (tried that and it didn't work). It educates her in a different way and I get to keep my sane.

I sing songs from those DVD to her in the car when we have a red light or she is crabby. She totally DIG that. It's a life saver for me, really.

If I feel that she is having more than 1 hour screen time a day in the past few days, I will arrange more "out of the house" trips so she doesn't get addicted. LOL

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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2011, 12:42:35 PM »

1.I am so over this its not tv that is bad it is the content that is shown on it.TV is just a medium
2. I would like to see the full clinical study done on the children who watched tv. How many hours a day and what exactly did they watch.
3. As far as I am aware a commercial is a break from the show that you are watching. How is YBCR a commercial! It is a dvd there are no adds in it or product placement. Are they annoyed at the fact that YBCR claims to teach reading? (Which I think it does). Or annoyed that it suggests children watch the dvd from three months onwards?
4 Show me a paediatrician who does not use the TV as a babysitter from time to time?
5. Why not go after Seasame Street? Seame street has been on tv for thirty plus years it claims to teach children early numeracy and letter recognition for years. It is aimed at very young children it may not claim to teach children to read but it claims to be educational?
6. My DD has watched DVDs from 3months onwards but has never seen commercial television (Stations that show adverts) until recently. My DD was so upset by the content of the add we had to turn the tv off until the show came back on (My husband was watching Formula 1). Now that was an eye opener to us at how damaging the content can be to a little one who can not discern what is real and what is not.
7. I beleive that this is just a witch hunt against YBCR and the "EXPERTS" are just pissed that the did not think of teaching young babies to read themselves from what Dr Titzer has discovered by simply wanting to interact with his child through the medium of television.
8. What do reception/kindergarten teachers teach if they are put out of work by people like Titzer and others who make similar programmes?
9. Whenever there is a big Social change or a new way of thinking someone is always persucuted until they are proven right and then the general populus comes to accept it.

That is my rant and rave.



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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2011, 10:35:30 PM »

Interesting! excerpt from an article on memorization:

Want to Remember Everything You'll Ever Learn? Surrender to This Algorithm
By Gary Wolf   04.21.08
Page 2

""The people who criticize memorization — how happy would they be to spell out every letter of every word they read?" asks Robert Bjork, chair of UCLA's psychology department and one of the most eminent memory researchers. After all, Bjork notes, children learn to read whole words through intense practice, and every time we enter a new field we become children again. "You can't escape memorization," he says. "There is an initial process of learning the names of things. That's a stage we all go through. It's all the more important to go through it rapidly." The human brain is a marvel of associative processing, but in order to make associations, data must be loaded into memory."


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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2011, 11:41:17 PM »

I've always found the memorization argument against children actually reading laughable. Especially when it's quoted by supposed experts.

I have had a lifetime of learning instruments and dance routines and karate and rah rah rah and I can tell you now the very first thing I did in all of those lessons was memorise something.

People who carry on about this obviously don't understand their own brain processes very well.

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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2011, 12:22:31 AM »

Neuroscientists say that something is considered to have been learned when it has been memorized. So, learning and memorization, in a sense, are the same thing. The main reason the US educational system has gone downhill is because schools are trying to avoid memorization.

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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2011, 02:11:21 PM »

With regard to memorization, Mauritanian's are world renowned for their piety and memorization of the Islamic studies books in their entirety:

Traditional Education process:

Detailed description of memorization of texts in Post #1:

and I am aware that American children used to memorize quite a bit, and found this very interesting article:

In Defense of Memorization
Michael Knox Beran   
City Journal, Summer 2004

If there’s one thing progressive educators don’t like it’s rote learning. As a result, we now have several generations of Americans who’ve never memorized much of anything. Even highly educated people in their thirties and forties are often unable to recite half a dozen lines of classic poetry or prose.

Yet it wasn’t so long ago that kids in public schools from Boston to San Francisco committed poems like Shelley’s “To a Skylark” and Tennyson’s “Ulysses” to memory. They declaimed passages from Shakespeare and Wordsworth, the Psalms and the Declaration of Independence. Even in the earliest grades they got by heart snippets of “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” or “Abou Ben Adhem.” By 1970, however, this tradition was largely dead.

Should we care? Aren’t exercises in memorizing and reciting poetry and passages of prose an archaic curiosity, without educative value?

That too-common view is sadly wrong. Kids need both the poetry and the memorization. As educators have known for centuries, these exercises deliver unique cognitive benefits, benefits that are of special importance for kids who come from homes where books are scarce and the level of literacy low. In addition, such exercises etch the ideals of their civilization on children’s minds and hearts.

The memorization and recitation of the classic utterances of poets and statesmen form part of a tradition of learning that stretches back to classical antiquity, when the Greeks discovered that words and sounds—and the rhythmic patterns by which they were bound together in poetry—awakened the mind and shaped character. They made poetry the foundation of their pedagogy. Athenian schoolboys learned by heart the poetry of Homer, through which they gained mastery of their language and their culture. They memorized as well, in versified form, the civic pronouncements of Solon, the founder of the Athenian political tradition.

In every epoch of Western history we find educators insisting that their pupils serve an apprenticeship in the work of masters of poetry and rhetoric. Saint Augustine, as a schoolboy in North Africa in the fourth century, studied only a very few Latin classics in school, principally Virgil’s Aeneid, great chunks of which he learned by heart. But within its “narrow limits,” the historian Peter Brown wrote in his life of the saint, the education the young Augustine received was “perfectionist.” “Every word, every turn of phrase of these few classics,” Brown observed, “was significant and the student saw this.” The “aim was to measure up to the timeless perfection of the ancient classic.”



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« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2011, 07:12:23 AM »

As far as I'm concerned, everything that are too much would harm our children. Relying solely to Interactive educational tools will be useless and ineffective without our GUIDANCE. Brillkids encourage parents to interact with their children while learning. Parents should be responsible enough to handle these tools. I'm glad with KL's message for parents either they use Brillkids or not. He always emphasize the worth of our time with our kids. We are the more effective teachers. I know God continuously inspires people to create helpful things to educate His precious Children. Let's use our wisdom wisely.

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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2011, 11:12:42 PM »

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization

Yes, that is really the title of this review: Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization. [ ] It is not a very catchy title but this compact spiral bound book is a powerful tool in helping our children develop better language skills. The basic idea behind this Andrew Pudewa [ > IAHP Graduate! ] creation is that children need a foundation for correct and sophisticated speech patterns. Our children are constantly surrounded by slang, sloppy speech, and improper grammar. This program strives to provide food for the ears of our young ones and help them build up their natural ability to memorize.

If you want to view an introductory video on YouTube about this product here is the LINK. [ private video ]

My boys just think this is a fun way to start out our day. We listen to the accompanying CD to hear Mr. Pudewa recite the poems under study. We listen to each poem and then work on memorizing it. Some of the selections are short and some are longer. A few are familiar but many are new to our family. There are serious poems and silly poems. This program emphasizes “mastery learning” or memorizing every word “in its correct place, being able to recite the poems with fluency, speed, pronunciation, and inflection.”

There are charts to copy off and use to keep track of your memory work. There are four levels included in this one volume and depending on your child’s age and aptitude, this book will carry over from year to year. My boys just started working through this program this school year as high school students and they have almost completed the first level memorized perfectly.

Spiral bound book, 3 CDs, and charts to copy for your own use
The first few poems are short and will give your child confidence as you begin this program. As you work through the poems, memorizing starts to get a little easier. The plan suggests the “Every Poem Every Day” plan where you recite every poem you know every day until you master all twenty poems. This isn’t as time consuming as it sounds. We allow ten minutes per day and we can easily get them all in if we focus.

Some poems that are included in this book:

My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson

Who Has Seen the Wind by Christina Rossetti

Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

I have found that our work in this book has carried over into our Bible scripture memorization as well. We seem to be quickly working through this year’s list of verses. Besides the benefits already mentioned, I see my children really enjoying the ability to recite for fun in front of their siblings, their father, and friends. It is a pleasurable experience to be able to entertain others with funny or lovely poetry. I also see a difference in their writing and vocabulary after using this program even for a short period of time. The patterns and words they are putting into their minds through the poetry memorization process are coming out in their other schoolwork.

I highly recommend purchasing the book and the CD to make your life easier.  We have found that listening to a “professional” recite the poems before we learn them to be beneficial. We can imitate his inflection and pronunciation in our reciting of the poems.

I wish we would have known to start earlier with this valuable product since it has become an important piece of our language course. All ages and abilities can successfully use this program!

Edit to add on 1/8/10

Jimmie commented after I posted this review that at $65 for the program it was a little expensive. Here is what I commented in reply:

Here is how I think:
Two boys and probably three years to get through the entire book. $65 divided by 6 is about $10 per year per child…not so bad when you consider it that way.

Also I really, really enjoy having the CDs so we can listen first and then have them memorize. It is a very Suzuki way to learn. You hear the words in your ear, you say them with your mouth and then as time goes by they are used in their writing. I see it as a way to program great speech and grammar into their minds.

This is so much more than memorization.

I purchased my set from Rainbow Resource and waited until I had a $150 order so I didn’t pay shipping. (Plus for those of us in the states, resale is very HIGH for IEW materials.)

I think all of the IEW materials are pricey but looking back over the last four years of using their stuff……priceless.


Mela Bala
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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2011, 11:34:51 PM »

It seems like the topic of letting young children watch tv or not is being spread by the recent publicity with YBCR. 
I received an email from Babycenter Medical Advisory Board and I thought I would post what they sent me.

"The best way to handle how much television and video your toddler watches is to think of them as refined sugar: You want your child to enjoy this seductive stuff without consuming too much. So you'll need to stay on top of the time your toddler spends in front of the television. The average American child watches three to four hours a day, despite recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics that children should watch no more than an hour or two a day, and that children under 2 should watch no television at all.

Starting out tough from day one is the key to keeping viewing time under control. It's a lot easier to relax your standards later than it is to wean an 18-month-old from a three-times-a-day Dora or Blue's Clues habit.

Here are tips on how to use television as a learning tool.

Limit the amount of TV your toddler watches
Since your child is under age 2, it's best to keep TV-watching to a bare minimum. If you choose to allow some television, break it up into 15-minute increments. Much more than that, and your toddler's brain can shift to autopilot.

Once your child hits 2, limit his total viewing time to an hour a day — even that amount is a lot for an active toddler. You should also keep the television out of your child's bedroom and turned off during meal times.

Watch programs, not television
Rather than sitting down to watch whatever happens to be on, carefully select the program your toddler's going to watch, and turn off the set when that program is over. Record programs ahead of time, if possible, so your child can watch what you want, when you want.

A two-minute warning that a show (or the segment of it that you're letting your toddler watch) is about to end will help him transition to the next activity.

Choose calm, quiet programs
Slower-paced viewing gives your toddler time to think about what he's watching and absorb the information. Lots of action and quickly changing images will only confuse him or make his eyes glaze over.

Some research suggests that children who watch violence on TV are more likely to display aggressive behavior. Stay away from scary shows, too. Instead, choose simple programs that emphasize interactivity. The best shows are those that inspire your child to makes sounds, say words, sing, and dance.

For specific program suggestions, talk to other parents in our community about TV for kids.

Watch with your toddler
A recent study looked at three groups: children with unlimited access to television, children with moderate access to television who watched without parents, and children with moderate access to television who watched with a parent.

The last group scored significantly higher academically than the other groups. Just being there says to your child, "What you do is important to me."

Of course, many of us have moments when we resort to using television or a video as a babysitter, but when you leave your child alone with the TV for a long time, you send a signal that you don't care what he watches. If you can, bring a basket of laundry to sort or some other task into the room so you can work and watch. Then it becomes an activity the two of you can enjoy together.

Help your toddler watch with a critical eye
Explain what's going on in the show, and encourage your child to ask questions and relate what's happening in the show to his own life. If you've recorded the show or are watching a video or DVD, press the pause button as often as you need to so that you have ample time to discuss what's going on.

If you're watching a recorded TV show, you'll probably want to fast-forward through the commercials. If you're stuck watching commercials, help your toddler understand the difference between those and the show itself.

Extend the show's content with activities or books
If you and your toddler have just finished watching a Sesame Street segment that introduces a number, talk about it later and find other examples to show him. When you're setting the table, for example, you might say, "Hey, today's number was three, and there are three places to set!" Then read and discuss a book that explores numbers concepts.

These recommendations were developed with the help of Kathleen Acord, project supervisor for KQED television's "Ready to Learn," a national government-sponsored program that educates parents and childcare providers about how to use television as a learning tool."



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« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2011, 01:39:36 PM »

I have always practiced watching TV with my son, I started him  with YBCR at 5 mths he started reading since 2 years he is now three years and is reading perfectly.
I let him watch TV moderately and always choose the show he watches.

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