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As a mother, Lisa Guernsey wondered about the influence of television on her two young daughters. As a reporter, she resolved to find out. What she first encountered was tired advice, sensationalized research claims, and a rather draconian mandate from the American Association of Pediatricians: no TV at all before the age of two. But, like many parents, she wanted straight answers and realistic advice, so she kept digging: she visited infant-perception labs and child development centers around the country. She ...
As a mother, Lisa Guernsey wondered about the influence of television on her two young daughters. As a reporter, she resolved to find out. What she first encountered was tired advice, sensationalized research claims, and a rather draconian mandate from the American Association of Pediatricians: no TV at all before the age of two. But, like many parents, she wanted straight answers and realistic advice, so she kept digging: she visited infant-perception labs and child development centers around the country. She interviewed scores of parents, psychologists, cognitive scientists, and media researchers, as well as programming executives at Noggin, Disney, Nickelodeon, Sesame Workshop, and PBS. Much of what she found flies in the face of conventional wisdom and led her to conclude that new parents will be best served by focusing on “the three C’s”: content, context, and the individual child.
A science journalist and mother of two, Guernsey manages to extricate straightforward information and guidelines from the morass of research, articles and debates on screen media and child brain development. Easily digestible chapters are smartly structured around 12 pervasive concerns of interviewees from all walks of life. Guernsey explains how parents can shrewdly navigate a TV, DVD and video game market that has only begun developing its potential, much like the minds of the children it targets. Wisely sticking to manageable and legitimate solutions suitable for parents who don't see abstention as an option, Guernsey encourages parents to balance TV-watching with creative play and parent-child bonding time. The "three Cs" approach-considering content, context and child when making decisions about media-watching-is easily understood and adaptable to any family situation. (Sept.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Foreword to the Paperback Edition xi
Preface, or the Three Cs: Content, Context and Your Child xv
1 What Exactly Is This Video Doing to My Baby's Brain? 1
ADHD and autism-should I be worried?
Why do pediatricians say no screen time before age 2?
2 Is TV Turning My Tot Into a Zombie? 27
Why does it look like my child is tuning out?
At what age do children become mentally engaged?
3 Could My Child Learn from Baby Videos? 45
How and when do toddlers learn from audiovisual media?
What is the "video deficit?"
4 My Toddler Doesn't Seem to Notice When the TV Is O-or Does He? 67
What is the impact of background television?
How does noise affect language development?
5 Which Videos Are Too Scary for My Child? 87
What content is most upsetting to young children?
What should I do when they get frightened by -what they see?
6 What Is Educational About "Educational" TV? 113
What are the features of a well-designed preschool show?
Have children really been shown to benefit from educational shows?
7 Could the Right DVD Teach My Child to Speak, or Better Yet, Become Bilingual? 135
What exactly leads to language development?
Will foreign-language videos give my children an edge?
8 Can Electronic Media Enrich My Child's Vocabulary? 151
At what age can a video make the most difference?
Under what conditions do children learn words from TV?
9 Could This Program Teach My Child to Be a Good Person? 173
Is there any evidence that videos can inspire good character?
How are TV, pretend play and good behavior connected?
10 Is Interactive Media Worthwhile-or at Least Better Than TV? 193
Are screen-based toys of any use to babies?
Is educational software a good idea for preschoolers?
11 Will Screen Time Make My Children Fat? 215
Are there real connections between TV and obesity?
Does the location of the TV matter?
12 How Do Real Families Make Smart Media Choices? 233
How do they cope with siblings? sickness? single parenthood?
What are some examples of limits that stick?
Appendix I Movie Review Web Sites 277
Appendix II Web Site Reviews of Interactive Media 279
Appendix III Resources on the Use of Electronic Media with Children Who Have Special Needs 281