According to a recent study in Child Development by
Dr. Marie Evans Schmidt, Staff Scientist at CMCH, having the television on in the background while very young children play disrupts their attention and their ability to concentrate.  This may harm their development.

The team observed 50 children, raging from 12 to 36-months of age, while they played with toys for one hour. The television was on the background for half hour, while the other half hour it was turned off.  Schmidt observed that when TV was on
in the background, the children were less able to focus continuously on their play. 

Schmidt concludes that even at an early age when children pay little attention to the programming content itself, daily exposure to background TV and its cumulative effects could impact children’s cognitive and language development.  She recommends that parents should limit
their young children’s exposure to background television.

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