Watching TV delays infant language, but don't touch that dial . . .

Dennis Baron debaron at
Wed Aug 15 04:21:52 UTC 2007

There's a new post on the Web of Language:

Watching TV delays infant language, but don't touch that dial . . .

Parents regularly tell children that watching television will rot  
their brains, and now there’s proof.  According to Frederick  
Zimmerman and his team of researchers at the University of  
Washington, watching television – whether it’s "American Idol" or  
"Sesame Street" – actually shrinks babies’ vocabulary by up to six to  
eight words per hour.  The study, published in the August, 2007,  
issue of the Journal of Pediatrics, found that "each hour per day of  
viewing baby DVDs/videos was associated with a 16.99-point decrement"  
in cognitive development compared with babies who did not watch TV.

Even if they were plopped down in front of so-called educational DVDs  
like Baby Einstein or not-for-profit children’s programming like  
"Blue’s Clues," TV-viewing babies were falling behind their peers who  
preferred traditional children’s literature like "Pat the Bunny."   
Babies who had never heard of Shakespeare, Mozart or Monet (all  
available from Baby Einstein) were actually outpacing TV-addicted  
babies in learning to talk...

find out more on this, and other stories of language in the news, on  
the Web of Language

Dennis Baron
Professor of English and Linguistics
Department of English
University of Illinois
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801

office: 217-244-0568
fax: 217-333-4321

read the Web of Language:

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