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Why shouldn’t babies watch TV?

Magdalena Adaś
Why shouldn’t babies watch TV?

Surely each of you knows that TV, smartphones, tablets and other screens are not recommended for babies. However, sometimes there it’s hard to provide arguments against it. Therefore, a significant number of parents allow their children to watch TV thinking: “but he wants to watch so much” , “after all, half an hour does no harm”, etc. Why shouldn’t babies watch TV then? Well, turns out that even half an hour can be harmful and there are scientific studies to prove it.

How does TV affect a baby?

The monitor screen refreshes at 120 kHz, which means that the refresh beam runs through the screen 120,000 times per second. In simple terms, this means that our brains get this amount of impulses per second. We, as adult humans, are able to handle these stimuli. On the other hand, a young child, who is just learning about the world and cannot yet select all the stimuli, may feel overloaded and overstimulated. And that is exactly why shouldn’t babies watch TV. This is not just about the eyes, but also about the nervous system. What consequences can this bring? According to a study conducted by Prof. Jagoda Cieszynska- Mrozek, high technology has a number of negative consequences on children between the ages of 4 and 12 months. Among them are:

  • lack of concentration of attention on the face of an adult,
  • lack of smiling at the sight of a familiar person,
  • delayed or absent babbling,
  • lack of listening to an adult’s voice,
  • lack of social gestures (such as “bye bye”),
  • slower development of large and small motor skills,
  • slower development of oral praxis (the ability to make purposeful movements of the articulatory organs).

This research clearly shows that an infant and watching TV is not the best idea. The impact of high technology on children in their second year was also studied. Toddlers watched TV for half to two hours a week. The symptoms in this group were as follows:

  • constant distraction,
  • sporadic responses to one’s own name,
  • delayed or absent speech development,
  • lack of finger-pointing gestures,
  • reluctance to look at books (because they are static images),
  • lack of a common field of attention,
  • lack of respect for social rules,
  • appetite disorders,
  • slowed rate of formation of lateral dominance.

When can babies watch TV?

To answer this question I will refer to the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization. These organizations recommend that children under the age of two should not watch TV at all, nor use smartphones and other digital devices with screens. It is important to remember here that all electronic devices with screens have a negative impact on a child’s development. According to the latest World Health Organization 2019 guidelines, children can be introduced to the world of technology only after the age of two. Moreover, the WHO recommends that this be done under close parental supervision. A young child does not understand the impact of technology and what is happening on the screen. Therefore, the presence of a parent is necessary to explain to him all the phenomena that occur and relate them to reality. As for older children, aged 3-5, it is recommended that they spend no more than 1 hour a day in front of the screen.


An infant and watching TV is not a good idea. Note that as little as half an hour of TV viewing by two-year-olds causes negative consequences. This is proven both by scientific studies and by the mere observation of the child’s behavior peering at screens. It is not normal for a toddler not to be interested in the world around him, not to look into a parent’s face, not to play with his toys and books, and the only thing that interests him is that big shiny screen. High technology negatively affects a child’s visual development, speech development, cognitive development, attention span, nervousness, development of social behavior, and much more. Until the age of three, it is not recommended that young children use screens. Only after this age, you can gradually implement watching cartoons. However, you should accompany your child while watching TV and not exceed the allowed time – one hour a day.

After reading the article, you already know from when an baby can watch TV and what the consequences are. I wish you to put this knowledge into practice and take care of your little one’s health. Remember, it is never too late to change.



Author: mgr Magdalena Adaś

I am a pediatric physiotherapist. This job is my dream and passion. In addition to directly supporting patients, I try to make sure that the knowledge of proper child care reaches as many parents as possible. Hence my online activities. My materials are used by thousands of parents every month.