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Stop the Presses! Screen Time May Actually be Good for Kids

Screen time

This isn’t so bad after all

It’s not as if any parent wants their toddler sitting around and watching TV for hours. But sometimes the television set (or iPad or iPod or smartphone) is the most available (and least expensive) babysitter. It’s not ideal, but it’s what it is.

Plenty of parents beat themselves up when their kids watch too much TV. After all, what good can come of it, right?

As it turns out — wrong. While TV has a bad rap for contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic and promoting aggressive behavior, there is a plus side to screen time, too.

According to a report in the journal Pediatrics (via MedPageToday.com), kids as young as preschool age exposed to TV, computer games “and other visual media designed to be educational and to promote healthy social behaviors” fared better later on when their behavior and social competence levels were analyzed.

“Although television is frequently implicated as a cause of many problems in children, our research indicates that it may also be part of the solution,” according to the study investigators, who are based at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Of course not every TV show will fall into the “better” category (Barney is probably better than SpongeBob, for instance). But for parents without every minute available in the day to spend enlightening, education and engaging their little ones, this is definitely good news.

Photo credit: iStockphoto

More from Meredith on Babble’s Toddler blog:

Read (even) more from Meredith at Babble’s Mom blog, follow her on Twitter, and check out her weekly column on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post at MeredithCarroll.com

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