Researchers at the University of Iowa are encouraging parents to turn off the television if their children are in the room and not watching the TV as well. Deborah Linebarger (line’-bar-grrr), UI associate professor in education, is the lead author of a study that examined the impact of television on children’s social and emotional development. Linebarger found “background” television can negatively impact a child’s ability to learn.
The average American child is exposed to nearly four hours of background television a day. Linebarger calls that an “astounding amount” and urges parents to use television “with a purpose.” She suggests sticking to mostly educational programs and when the show is done, turn off the TV.
Linebarger’s study is published online in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. The findings come from a national survey of more than 1,150 families with children between 2 and 8 years old.