It is nothing new to hear about how bad excess T.V. watching is for children. Kids who watch a ton of television are more likely to be overweight than children who get outside and play. Also attention spans have proven to be shorter in those kids who are exposed to prolonged T.V viewing. Not to mention that there are so many more productive activities that a child could be engaging in other than zoning out in front of a television set.
When I was a kid I spent hours and hours of my day adventuring out doors; climbing trees, playing hopscotch and building forts. My imagination was stimulated every moment and I was able to make a connection to nature that I am afraid is completely lost to many children of today. T.V is becoming a substitute for real life interaction. Interaction with their own imagination, other kids, their parents, etc...
I have come across an article that specifically pertains to infants under the age of 3 years old and how television exposure can possibly stunt their growth and prove to be a potential problem for them as they develop. This article answers 11 important questions that can explain in greater detail why it is so imperative to monitor your child's television watching.
Does the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend against TV viewing for children under the age of 2?
In 1999 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement about media and children. In it, the organization discussed the benefits media education can have as well as the health risks TV poses to children, especially those under the age of two. Specifically, the AAP said:
"Pediatricians should urge parents to avoid television viewing for children under the age of 2 years. Although certain television programs may be promoted to this age group, research on early brain development shows that babies and toddlers have a critical need for direct interactions with parents and other significant caregivers (eg, child care providers) for healthy brain growth and the development of appropriate social, emotional, and cognitive skills. Therefore, exposing such young children to television programs should be discouraged."
To read the full statement: American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement on Media Education
I think that T.V. like most other things in life is best in moderation. There is of course some good in showing your children educational programs. They can stimulate the mind and the creative spirit. My favorite educational kids program is Cyberspace on PBS.
In my opinion, if your toddler is over the age of 3, shows that are purely for entertainment value should be fine too. I would just make that I was monitoring the frequency and subject matter. As long as they are getting a good mix of of other stimulation in their life such as reading, spending time with family and playing outdoors, a bit of T.V. is an appropriate indulgence. Just my two cents, for what they are worth. :)
Read the rest of the above article here: http://www.pbs.org/parents/childrenandmedia/article-faq.html