One interesting thing that Squeaker's pediatrician talked to me about at this last was visit concerned television, but more generally screen time. She told me that I should be limiting Squeaker's screen time to pretty much no time at all, trying to make her avoid all computers, tablets, smart phones, and televisions until she is TWO years old! I had no idea, I knew that having her watch too much of it was a bad thing, because it is bad for adults too really, but I didn't think that even educational shows like Baby Einstein were off limits. The doctor said that even though these educational shows and games do help with learning new things and they are entertaining for babies, they actually end up being linked to raising the percentage of children with learning disorders and ADD. She said that although it is not a 100% chance, it does raise Squeaker's risk and she did not advise taking that risk, obviously.
(This image is a link to a TIME article on the debate)
Her reasoning, her theory and research on the subject of why this risk occurs, had to do with the development of neural pathways in the baby's brain. She said that these shows, even educational ones, can help the baby to learn new things but it's like skipping a step in their development. The baby shouldn't be learning these things before taking simple learning steps from what is directly around them. The best way to learn is slowly and with direct activity, which in turn actually creates neural pathways for the best possible learning patterns within the frontal lobe. I found this very interesting and it seems to make sense. She also said that this neurological development and the skipping of learning steps has to do with over-stimulation of the brain, because babies can become over-stimulated by simply looking in the mirror or at their parent's face. This is why when a baby is looking at your face they sometimes have to look away for a minute before continuing on. So when over-stimulation occurs so easily, it is even more overwhelming for the baby's brain when seeing so many colors and movements in such a small space.
Do any of you have opinions or thoughts on this subject? I found it very enlightening, but also a bit daunting thinking about how I am going to have to keep Squeaker away from so many screens as much as possible when we live in such a technologically advanced society. These screens are everywhere and I use them ALL day. So far it hasn't been quite as hard as I thought it would be, but she isn't crawling or walking yet, which makes it easier for me to position her in such a way that she can't see our television set. I guess it will just take one day at a time and more research to figure out the most productive ways for Squeaker to learn. This article, published by Education Nation, from awhile back also helped me to begin my personal research on the subject.