Last Updated on
A leading researcher in the field, Dimitri Christakis, studied 329 children aged 2 months to 4 years old. Using a very creative study method, he and his collegues had the children wear small digital recorders for periods of 12-16 hours. These recorders captured sounds and vocalizations the child was exposed to as well as their own vocalizations. The results showed that
** on average, for every hour the TV was on, parents spoke 770 fewer words to their children.
This is shocking given that the average adult speaks 940 words per hour. Thus, the presence of TV was associated with a significant decline in parent vocalizations. The study also found that children’s vocalizations were much less frequent in the presence of TV as well.
“Since 30 percent of American households now report having the television always on, even when no one is watching, these findings have grave implications for language acquisition and therefore perhaps even early brain development.”