Video: TV for toddlers

By Correspondent
msnbc.com
updated 5/11/2006 7:45:15 PM ET 2006-05-11T23:45:15

It's launch day for Babyfirst TV. Its target audience? The "3 and younger crowd.

But 1-year-old twins Luke and Kayla Kushner won't see any of it — not if dad Adam has any say.

When it comes to his kids’ watching TV, he has a rule. “My rule,” he says, “is they're not allowed to watch at all.”

But Adam's wife — and the twins' mother — Louise, has a different philosophy and defends some TV viewing by children. “I think,” she explains, “there's certain programs, certain educational programs that I feel that I'm totally OK with them.”

Enter Babyfirst TV — the first-ever network designed specifically for babies and their parents. Its creators say it’s educational and interactive, and it’s available 24/7 on DirecTV.

But Mount Sinai pediatrician Dr. Danielle Laraque argues that watching TV is just too passive. “We know that children learn best through personal interaction,” she says, “both their cognitive and social and emotional health.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees, saying it "doesn't recommend television for children under age 2 or younger" period.

But America's viewing habits are quite different.

A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 68 percent of children under the age of 2 watch TV or videos daily.

That's hard to ignore, says Dr. Edward McCabe, the president of the American Pediatrics Society. “Let's help parents find the right context,” McCabe says, “to help them have TV for their kids that can help the kids learn and help the parents interact with their kids.”

Back at the Kushner household, there’s a dilemma. Adam says, “No TV.” Lisa says, “It’s OK to have some TV, within moderation.”  Who’s going to win this battle?

“I am,” Lisa says.

We'll see, as families across America must ask themselves "to watch or not to watch."

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