Report: Background TV can impact kids' learning, concentration - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Report: Background TV can impact kids' learning, concentration

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Many parents worry about how much television their kids watch, but a new report found that television noise in the background could also be doing harm.

It's almost like the TV equivalent of second-hand smoke, according to a study published in the Journal Pediatric that found "background TV" can affect everything from a child's relationships to their ability to learn and concentrate.

Researchers say that although television can certainly educate and even keep people company, distracting images can take a toll on developing minds. Children watch an average of an hour and a half of television each day, but researchers say they're exposed to an additional four hours daily.

"Our brains are not built to focus on more than one thing at a time," Dr. David Walsh, who has been studying the effects of media on children, told FOX 9 News.

Walsh said he agrees with the study's findings that background television could have negative effects on children.

"It actually is having an impact in terms of their language development and in terms of their attention," Walsh explained.

According to Walsh, a super-sized diet of television has been linked to lower attention spans and weaker parent-child interactions. With so many things -- from TV to Twitter -- vying for kids' attention these days, many end up in a state of chronic distraction.

"If we're always doing multiple things at once, if we're always trying to multitask or if we always have things on or in the background, that can kind of hinder that development of that ability to concentrate," he said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents should not expose children under the age of two to any media, including television. Afterward, only an hour of television per day is recommended for kids through grade school.

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