Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Can a One-Year-Old Be Influenced By TV Viewing?

If the TV is on in a room, do infants pay attention to it?

If so, does it influence them?

Researchers at Tufts University say YES!

One-year-olds can be influenced by messages from television. Infants pick up on the emotional signals they observe and actually base decisions on them.

Here is what has been found: When infants are awake, they observe the actions and reactions of others and take it all in and use it to make decisions. For example, let’s say an infant watches someone on TV get angry at a ball. He watches the emotion the person presents towards that object and is somehow able to draw implications for his own behavior based on that observation.


Sounds incredible, doesn’t it? Tufts researcher, Donna Mumme, an expert on emotional communication in infants, found that infants are impacted by emotions they see on TV.

This remarkable finding–that infants pay attention to television stimuli and use it to guide their interactions–gives us all pause for concern.

The take-away is that what children are exposed to in media can influence their behavior.

So think twice before you react harshly to something or someone in front of your infant. She is paying attention.

Also, be careful concerning media exposure. It is never too early to monitor television viewing!




Source: January/February issue of Child Development, the publication of the Society for Research in Child Development.

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