So why is background television exposure, which accounts for about 80 percent of overall exposure, such a big deal? According to the research, the background noise emitted from a television set can thwart the proper development of children’s brains, and distract them to the point that they are unable to focus during conversations, or properly interact with other human beings. For many children, excessive background television exposure can also severely limit proper cognitive development and formative speech patterns.
“This is a clear warning signal to parents that if they are not watching TV, they ought to turn it off,” says Dr. Victor Strasburger, a pediatrician from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque who has previously studied media exposure among children, but who was not involved in the new study. “[It is also] a reminder that parents should be avoiding screen time in infants under two.”