Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Into the Minds of Babes

How Screen Time Affects Children from Birth to Age Five

One of the peculiarities of becoming a grandparent (pardon me while I mist up again) is the sudden revival of interest in issues relating to infants. Hence the phenomenon in which I read this book with genuine interest.

Lisa Guernsey is a mother, but also a writer specializing in science and technology, which helps her decipher all those intensely technical papers. The happy result is Into the Minds of Babes, in which we learn how watching television affects the preschool set, according to scientific studies instead of advertising hype. It is remarkably readable considering all the research she cites, which adds credibility for the research savvy and reassurance for the rest of us.

The book is organized into questions, one per chapter, such as: What Exactly Is This Video Doing To My Baby's Brain? and Will Screen Time Make My Children Fat?, while other questions address such topics as education, white noise, scary TV, interactive media, foreign language, vocabulary, social skills, and making intelligent choices. The coverage is comprehensive, the findings in turn surprising, reassuring, and (occasionally) ominous.

This book is a must-read if you've got a tot you love dearly, and a television.


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