Toddlers and Television, the AAP and Sesame Street


Well that went well. Dr. Ari Brown spat out the words Mommy Blogger a few times with a little more disdain that Sister Susan uses for syphilis or satan. James Steyer was magnificent at promoting his website and chastised me more than once for arguing the science.

Because ya know I’m like Michelle Bachman if I argue the quality of the science. Yet I do question the quality of the science.

We talked about how low income kids watch more TV and it might not be children’s programming. Perhaps because it’s less safe to play outside? I’m thinking that’s true in the cities, but not every low income home is urban. I strongly suspect that with NPR talking about less screen time for children (particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area) it’s preaching to the choir.

There was great concern at the top of the hour about apps, smart phones and computers, but that wasn’t discussed. Lesli Rotenberg joined us as a representative of Sesame Street and everyone fell head over heels. She might as well have been Grover. Who doesn’t love Sesame Street?

The discussion on KQED’s own site centered around the fact that these families had screen free homes. Irony anyone?

I’m tired of of women like Dr. Ari Brown who have an agenda that is dismissive of real life. It’s exhausting to me that folks think that because you’re a blogger you’re uneducated. It’s tiring to hear from the “experts”, as new media has evolved I’ve seen the curtain pulled back and much like the Wizard of Oz there are often tiny men with big megaphones.

Your infants and TV? The AAP’s recommendations are sound. Limit media.

Okay, got it? Limit media. Houses with TVs on all day? You suck, the AAP says so and I totally agree with them.

Don’t give your one year old your iPhone… well odds are are 1 in 6 that there’s fecal matter on it already.

The recommendations suggest nesting cups or wooden spoons. You should totally use these toys for your kids while you’re milking the cows and churning your butter.

I understand that people worry about too much media. There was a time that lawmakers were concerned about radios in cars.

I also know that there is a richness in new media. Good content should not be ignored and Bugs Bunny won’t make your child violent, he simply will not. If a Baby Einstein video introduces your infant to Mozart and a Brainy Baby DVD teaches them colors go for it. Also if you think your child doesn’t have to be learning every single second of their day, you might be right too.


UPDATE: Here is the podcast.

KQED Forum Tomorrow Morning


I’ll be on The Forum with Michael Krasny at 9 tomorrow morning. We’ll be talking about kids and media. The show is on KQED the Bay Area’s NPR affiliate.

You may or may not be aware that the AAP has recommended zero screen time for children under two. I suppose I’m invited to add a little color as I cannot comprehend why the AAP would think taking such an extreme stance would support new parents. I’m pretty sure this Washington Post article led them to me.

forum with michael krasny kqed npr

If you don’t live in the bay area you can listen online at


  • Ari Brown, pediatrician and lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy on television and kids under two years old
  • James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based non-profit which conducted the survey on media habits for kids up to eight years old
  • Jessica Gottlieb, parenting blogger based in Los Angeles
  • Lesli Rotenberg, senior vice president of children’s media for PBS