How Much TV Do American Babies Really Watch?

By , September 26, 2007 10:26 am

I haven’t written directly about TV and kids in a while, but this morning I happened to stumble upon this interesting recent study published in the May 2007 Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, entitled Television and DVD/Video Viewing in Children Younger Than 2 Years.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under age 2 years, watch no TV. But how much TV are children under 24 months really watching? This study attempts to answer that question.

The findings:

– By 3 months of age, about 40% of children regularly watched TV, DVDs or videos.

– By 24 months of age, 90% of children regularly watched TV, DVDs, or videos.

– The median age at which regular media exposure was introduced was 9 months.

– Average viewing time per day for children less than 1 year: 1 hour

– Average viewing time per day for children ages 1 to 2: more than 1.5 hours

– Parents watched with their children more than half the time, but only 32% watched with their child every time.

– Most common reasons for media exposure in children less than 2: education, entertainment, babysitting.


“Parents should be urged to make educated choices about their children’s media exposure. Parental hopes for the educational potential of television can be supported by encouraging those parents who are already allowing screen time to watch with their children.”

(Study was based on a telephone survey of 1,009 parents of children ages 2 months – 24 months, and was conducted by Frederick J. Zimmerman, PhD; Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPH; and Andrew N. Meltzoff, PhD.)

You can read the brief summary here, and the full article (which provides much more detail) here.

3 Responses to “How Much TV Do American Babies Really Watch?”

  1. Jenny says:

    Wow- 90% of kids over 2 regularly watch TV? I don’t know which disturbs me more, that or the fact that so many babies 3 months and under watch it!

  2. dawn224 says:

    I’ve been known to have it on so I can pee or cook. I’ve also been known to turn it to the Spanish channel so he can her that.

  3. […] to the study I wrote about in my September 26th post: How Much TV Do American Babies Really Watch, one of the main reasons that kids under age two watch TV is for “babysitting” […]

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