The American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines in 1999 that stated television or video watching for infants under 2 years of age was strongly discouraged. Now, almost 13 years later, they have issued further studies supporting this recommendation and going even further. Parents are now advised that even their television watching can affect their children and language development.
First and foremost, parents are encouraged to promote independent play and active learning. This provides the most optimal environment for an infant to explore their world and learn. By interacting with their children, parents are also encouraging language development and other social milestones. The research and guidelines go out of their way to be explicitly clear. Infants under 2 years of age should not watch any television or videos, this includes DVDs directed especially at them for marketing purposes. Experts say infants cannot make sense of the images at such a young age and do not reap the benefits that marketers use to sell the product to parent.
In short, parents that want to promote intellectual and language development cannot do so through videos and television. They will have to just do it the old fashioned way: with interaction and play. This is one of the reasons that daycares do such a great job of helping stimulate infants to develop. Daycares do not utilize screens and offer interactive play between infants and with a variety of toys in their environment. Keep these factors in mind when considering what to plug in next time your little one craves stimulation and interaction.