Screen-based Entertainment Media are Pedagogically Ineffective Essay

Screen-based Entertainment Media are Pedagogically Ineffective Essay

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In 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) first issued a guideline on media exposure for infants (children less than 2 years old). In it, they recommended that “television and other entertainment media” be avoided entirely in that population. (AAP, 1999) As more and more studies examining this subject were conducted and their findings released, the AAP considered the evidence and the AAP stood by its guidelines in 2011. (Brown, 2011) Given TV and screen media’s pervasive penetration in American culture, their potential benefits and damages in children’s development are paramount. As such, the AAP’s guidelines, and the weight they carry, need to be continually assessed and evaluated. This paper will argue that the AAP’s recommendation should be upheld for infants (under age 2) because screen-based entertainment media are pedagogically ineffective and displace much-needed social interaction. I will review literature discussing the effectiveness and impact of television and screen media, and then explore the critical role of social interaction in infants’ developmental process.

Educational TV programs and DVDs targeted at infants have proven to be largely ineffective at improving infants’ word and language acquisition. Counting the number of new words learned by an infant is a good way to quantify the effectiveness of their word acquisition. A study conducted by DeLoache et al. exposed 12- to 18-month old infants to large amounts of popular, infant-targeted programming for 4 weeks at home aimed to evaluate the impact of this programming on infants’ word learning. (DeLoache, 2010) Prior to and following the 4-week exposure period, children were asked to point at certain objects that were featured in the video. The childre...


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...television scenario. Child development, 74(1), 221-237.
Rideout, V.J., Vanderwater, E.A., & Wartella, E.A. (2006). Zero to six: electronic media in the lives of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
Roseberry, S., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R.M. (2013). Skype me! Socially contingent interactions help toddlers learn language. Child Development, 85(3), 956-970.
Saffran, J. R. (2002). Constraints on statistical language learning. Journal of Memory and Language, 47(1), 172-196.
Schmidt, M.E., Pempek, T.A., Kirkorian, H.L., Lund, A.F., & Anderson, D.R. (2008). The effects of background television on the toy play behavior of very young children. Child Development, 79(4), 1137-1151.
Zimmerman, F.J., Christakis, D.A., & Meltzoff, A.N. (2007). Associations between media viewing and language development in children under age 2 years. Journal of Pediatrics, 151(4), 364-368.

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