Why some babies are more likely to watch TV

Kim Hookem-Smith
Yahoo Lifestyle
8 January 2013

Your baby’s personality could influence how much time you allow him or her to watch television.

And your own viewing habits are also important in the relationship your little one forms with the box.

According to new research, babies who are very active and those who are fussy and difficult are more likely to be put in front of the TV when they are very young, as their parents struggle to find ways to keep them occupied and happy.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina in the US investigated what sort of babies were more likely to be exposed to high levels of television, and what traits led to a shorter amount of time spent watching TV.

Studying 217 mum and baby pairs from the Infant Care and Risk of Obesity Study, they found that new mums spent a significant amount of time watching television and many fed their babies in front of it. By their first year, nearly 40 per cent of these tots were exposed to three hours of TV every day.

[Related: Babies should be banned from TV until they're three, says expert]

Watching a large amount of television as a baby and young child has been linked to television watching behaviour later in life and more importantly to the consumption of unhealthy foods. 

The researchers hoped to detect reasons parents resort to using the television as a primary source of entertainment to help offer alternatives that will encourage children to eat better and be more active.

Mums who watched less television and whose babies were exposed to less tended to be better educated and were less likely to allow their children to have a TV in their room when they were older.

[Related: TVs and tablets blamed for childre
n's poor development]

Study leader Amanda Thompson explained that children who grow up watching lots of television are more likely to get into the habit of mindless snacking, putting them at a higher risk of obesity.

Some experts currently recommend children under the age of two watch no TV at all and that toddlers above this age should have their viewing time carefully rationed.

How much TV do you watch with your baby each day? Tell us on Twitter using #YBabyTV

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