this mind-boggling article suggests a link between tv-watching and increased autism rates in very young children. apparently cornell university researchers found a statistically significant link between the availability of cable tv programs (with attendant kiddie tv shows, as well as the usual blood & guts fare) in homes with children who were later diagnosed as autistic. nickelodeon, which began in 1979, was named specifically.
when i read this i was really glad that we’ve limited CN’s time in front of the tv. sure, he’ll watch the occasional sesame street in the morning (like, once every 3 weeks) or loathesome Thomas the Tank Engine or Bob the Builder dvd in the late afternoon (maybe 3 times a week, for an hour at most each time), but he’s not a couch potato. i don’t think he’s been damaged by his time in front of the telly. but i also know i can’t stand how he whines for more after the dvd is finished. so it’s just as well that he doesn’t develop the tv-watching habit.
we ourselves never watch tv any more. we get so busy getting CN out the door for preschool, doing our own work, playing with him, or getting everyone fed and bathed and into bed–who the hell has time to veg in front of the tv? especially watching screechy, annoying, brightly colored characters designed to make your kid a consuming monster?