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Marie Evans Schmidt

Harvard Says What?

Another study that says what we all knew.

Article: Television Viewing in Infancy and Child Cognition at 3 Years of Age in a US Cohort

Sounds very Harvard-y doesn’t it? Well, don’t be fooled. Let me break it down for you, this make take 17 minutes, so you can pop a DVD in for the toddler so that I can have your full attention. Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you.

The study is this. The Center on Media and Child Health, Children’s Hospital Boston, and Harvard Medical School joined forces to study the effect of television time on children from infancy to age three.

Using a large sample, and a diverse population the researchers measured the amount of time spent watching television and measured their visual and motor skills at age three. The results are fascinating.

There is absolutely no deleterious impact to cognitive and language abilities.

Translation into Momma Speak: if your infant watches TV you aren’t hurting them. Go ahead, do what you already knew was okay. Stop feeling awful about it too.

I found many parts of this study interesting, but I’m on a time crunch to get this posted. I’ll give you a brief outline of what’s worrisome.

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics has been recommending no screen time for kids under two for the last ten years
  • 7 out of 10 mothers ignore that advice
  • Mothers are made to feel awful for using the television as a tool to get some much needed time
  • Assertions are made about the quality of our parenting with absolutely no relevant research, just a hunch


What’s most interesting to me is that the same researchers who tell us to unplug our children would insist that sitting down to dinner together is the key to knowing your children, family unity and fighting obesity.

Dude, have you ever tried to cook dinner with a punchy 3 year old in the room? I will publicly announce that were it not for the Tivo my family would’ve been weaned on Chinese take out and tears.

I hope that this study is not misinterpreted (though I fear it will be) and the onslaught on perfectly capable parents ceases.

I am exhausted by the anti-Mommy message.
I’m doing what I can to raise my kids, and if you are truly interested in the quality of parent child relationships, why don’t you send some of the cash my way and I’ll do a study of the effects of a vacation.

This one vindicates me, and every woman I know.

Here’s the text, if you’re interested.
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