To test the association of media exposure with language development in children under age 2 years.
A total of 1008 parents of children age 2 to 24 months, identified by birth certificates, were surveyed by telephone in February 2006. Questions were asked about child and parent demographics, child-parent interactions, and child's viewing of several content types of television and DVDs/videos. Parents were also asked to complete the short form of the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI). The associations between normed CDI scores and media exposure were evaluated using multivariate regression, controlling for parent and child demographics and parent-child interactions.
Among infants (age 8 to 16 months), each hour per day of viewing baby DVDs/videos was associated with a 16.99-point decrement in CDI score in a fully adjusted model (95% confidence interval = -26.20 to -7.77). Among toddlers (age 17 to 24 months), there were no significant associations between any type of media exposure and CDI scores. Amount of parental viewing with the child was not significantly associated with CDI scores in either infants or toddlers.
Further research is required to determine the reasons for an association between early viewing of baby DVDs/videos and poor language development.