NEW DELHI : Earlier many researchers were of the opinion that parents should not let their toddlers watch TV. However with increase in evidence based research opinions are changing. Researchers now came to the conclusion that watching TV can actually enhance children’s language skills.
Recently a research was carried out by University of New England under leadership of Michael Bitmann, adjunct professor with the University’s department of Sociology. For this the analyzed literacy skills of 10,000 young children.
It is revealed from the study that important thing is, what parents do. When parental behavior was included in the model, it was found that exposure is not important anymore. For example if a parent co-watches television programs with the child then it actually improved the child’s vocabulary.
Professor Bitmann further added that these results does not mean a green signal for unrestricted access to the remote control. According to him it is very important for parents to monitor and regulate what their youngsters are watching. Children are young and unregulated TV viewing can cause stress. So, parental watch is necessary. Sometimes it I best for the parents to turn off the TV.
Result of another study conducted by Althea C. Huston Ph.D. at the Department of Human Ecology,University of Texas at Austin provided strong support to the notion that effects of television viewing depends on program content and genre. For this they analyzed television-viewing habits of nearly 200 children aged 2 to 7 over a 3 year period. All children were from low-to moderate-income families and were given periodic tests for reading, math, vocabulary and school readiness skills.
It was found that children who watched educational programs like Sesame Street, Mister Roger’s Neighborhood and etc. had higher academic scores 3 years later than those who didn’t watch educational programs. Also, children who watched many hours of entertainment programs andmcartoons had lower scores than those who watched fewer hours of such programs. Positive effects were strongest for children aged 2 and 3 years. Thus, highlighting that stable habits of viewing are formed in the first few years of life.