Turn off the t.v. II

An article in Science News purportedly about the unforeseeable consequences of our technological advances has an interesting discussion of infants watching television. As in an earlier post, the short of it is: Turn off the t.v. and interact with your kids.

Interestingly, some new research coming from Wake Forest University demonstrates that toddlers watching television for the purposes of language acquisition – while being entertained – are not acquiring anything of the sort.

The study shows that without face-to-face human interaction, children do not pick up a host of necessary audio and visual cues to put their immediate environment into context. The study relates to young children watching Teletubbies specifically, but one could likely generalize to include numerous other “educational” television programs or interactive media. Marina Krcmar, associate professor of communications, says that parents could be limiting their child’s development significantly by sitting them in front of the idiot box.

“With the tremendous success of programs such as Teletubbies that target very young children, it has become important to understand what very young children are taking away from these programs,” says Krcmar. “We would like to think… that Teletubbies and other programs can teach initial language skills. That is not true.” In the study, Krcmar found that children could really only pick up words from another adult.


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