As a new parent and a medical student, I’m always on the lookout for the latest in pediatric research. Now, although the research I’m presenting here is several years old, I still think it is important to make it more well-known. Many people, parents in particular, are completely unaware that the latest technology claiming to increases the baby’s IQ is just another scam. So, without further ado, here we go!
Everyone has seen the DVDs lining the shelves of Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, and the like that are supposed to make your baby the next Albert Einstein. The problem with these DVDs isn’t just the fact that they don’t work. In actuality, they cause more harm than good! I won’t go into the details, and will leave that to the links I’ve included below. However, the main point is that children exposed to more technology are less likely to excel in language development and social relationships. Many studies have even determined a link between watching television and the diagnosis of ADHD later in life.
Babies develop intelligence through social interactions and imagination. The greatest asset to developing superior cognitive abilities in your growing little one is to promote their having a variety of social experiences. Thus, parking them in front of a television (or iPhone, iPad, computer, etc.) is not going to help them learn! Furthermore, one of the greatest predictors of happiness for any age, is the strength of a person’s relationships with others. If you have a wonderful parents, amazing friends, or a loving spouse, you are much more likely to live a happy life.
It is generally accepted amongst child development specialists that a child shouldn’t be exposed to television until 2 years of age. However, for some parents, T.V. provides their only opportunity for relief from the challenges of parenting. Obviously, this poses a problem for those parents. I am by no means calling anyone a “bad parent” for letting their kid watch T.V. Just limit the amount of time they watch to the best of your abilities. It’s not going to be the end of the world if you let them watch an episode of Dora the Explorer so you can get the laundry done.
As a side not, you don’t have to look far to see the detriment of technology for the younger generations. Go out to dinner and you’ll see kids texting or playing games rather than have face-to-face conversations with their peers or family. Studies have shown time and time again that children spending more time using technology (e.g. more television) are far less adept at social interactions. You can’t develop the ability to read body language if you spend your life talking via typing. If the impact of technology on the adolescent population is this substantial, it should come as no surprise that the impact on the rapidly developing mind of an infant is detrimental as well… perhaps even greater!
I love technology as much as the next person, and enjoy playing with all of the latest gadgets. However, I also know that it can be abused. Just limit your kid’s time with television, computers, etc. and you’re one step closer to giving your child the tools to developing into the person you always dream they’ll become!
For more information, I’ve included some links to various articles regarding the topic.