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A study revealed that background television, i.e. background noise from the television, has been linked to lower sustained attention during playtime, lower quality parent-child interactions, an reduced performance on cognitive tasks among children.
According to an accompanying study published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (Nov. 2012), black children from low-income homes consume six hours of background television per day — in comparison to 5.5 hours from African-American children who are not form low-income home and 4 hours from children who are non-African-American. Other scenarios that factored into the increase included single-parent households and children whose parents had less formal education.
Researchers for the study conducted a phone survey with 1,454 parents with at least one child between 8 months old and 8 years old. Parents were asked if the child had a TV in his/her room, how many hours of TV were watched, and if the set stayed on even if no one was watching it. The questions determined the amount of exposure. To fight the negative affects of too much background TV consumption, the authors suggest turning the TV off when no one is watching, during mealtime, and at bedtime. Children under 2 shouldn’t watch television at all.