TV Yes, But Are Apps Bad For Babies?

Earlier this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics released guidelines (based on a decade of research) that children under the age of two should never watch TV.

Here is more from the report: “In a recent survey, 90 percent of parents said their children under age 2 watch some form of electronic media. On average, children this age watch televised programs one to two hours per day. By age 3, almost one third of children have a television in their bedroom. Parents who believe that educational television is ‘very important for healthy development’ are twice as likely to keep the television on all or most of the time.”

The report mainly looked at “passive screens” like TVs and computer screens. But as PC World pointed out, “the research on [tablets] has barely begun, so it’s unclear how the ability to interact with apps changes the dynamic. But for any parents unsure, the message is clear: Your child should barely know what a TV is, let alone any characters.”

James Peak, Educational Consultant at app developer Mindshapes, thinks this recommendation is fine for TV, but he says that apps can be good for kids. He told eBookNewser: “Not all screens do the same job these days, and the report focuses on the effects of TV watching, rather than interactive experiences that the iPad can offer. Consider the difference between a TV show, and a well-produced educational app. Sticking your kid in front of a TV screen means they are behaving passively, and are not encouraged to interact with what is going on; they just watch. However, a good app will actively engage a child’s developing mind, encouraging core educational skills for preschoolers, with fine motor, reasoning, attention, working memory and spatial tasks.”

What do you think?