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Doctors Say To Turn Off TV for Baby's Sake

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Recently Michelle Obama told an audience of supporters that the president doesn’t approve of his daughters, Malia, 13, and Sasha, 10 watching trashy reality televisions like "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" for fear that they’ll pick up bad habits. It seems that the president might be on to something with this decision, as recent research suggests that parents should limit the amount of time that their very young children spend watching television, as well as playing computer games or listening to adult television shows playing in the background.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, video screen time in front of the TV or computer provides no educational benefits to children under age 2, and that includes so-called "educational enhancement" videos. Additionally, watching TV or sitting in front of the computer reduces the time available to spend on more important activities like human interaction and playing.

While this advice might seem stringent, it’s less so than advice presented in 1999 that parents should eliminate TV viewing altogether for their children under 2 and should also fill out "media reports" at each doctor’s visit. Doctors understand that with a myriad of screens available in the home, such as iPads to TV and computer screens, it is difficult for parents to banish "screen time" altogether. However, they cite evidence from recent research that shows that children who watch a lot of TV have language delays and disruptive sleep.