Effects of Too Much TV on a Baby?

Lately, Haruka has been watching a lot of TV…A LOT of TV.  This has made me quite concerned because I have been noticing that on a few occasions, she would not even respond to me calling her name when her attention is on the TV.  We would even have to turn the TV off while feeding her, otherwise she wouldn’t eat.  She’s gotten so accustomed to watching to TV that she would only have to listen to few bars of a commercial jingle to recognize it.

There have been conflicting studies on the internet about the negative effects of television on children below the age 2 years.  Some studies suggest that even the so-called educational programs may not be too good for small children.  The reason for my concern is that Haruka has not been sleeping too well lately, as I mentioned in my last entry.  Initially, I theorized that it may be because she is growing and learning things quite rapidly at this stage of her development.  However, after some of my recent observations in her behavior and her irregular sleep patterns, I am more inclined to think that it’s more due to over stimulation (from too much TV to be specific) .

She is particularly fond of a children’s program on NHK called Inai Inai Ba, which is very similar to Romper Room.  The 30-minute program broadcasts twice a day, and features a child host and animal characters who dance and sing the same songs on evey episode, at almost precisely the same point in the program.  I watched Haru watch this program yesterday, and she seemed to be totally mezmorized by the music.  She knows the music well, and at what point her favorite songs will play.   At first I thought it was quite amazing for a 9 month old to retain that kind of memory and attention span.  But after a while, her behavior was reminiscent of what seemed to be similar to ADHD.  Athough ADHD is thought to be genetic, or due to environmental factors, I found this article that suggests that excessive TV on a small child can possibly cause attention problems.  Although I tend to discredit TV as the cause of ADHD, I do believe that excessive TV watching can lead to attention problems, which can possibly lead to behavior problems later on.

Although I know it will be difficult initially, I think the next plan of action is to start limiting Haruka’s exposure to TV.

Haru playing underneath the dining table

Haru helping me readjust her child seat to fit her

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