Four Out of 10 Babies Watch TV

Four out of 10 children "regularly watched TV" by the age of three months and 90% watched by two years old.

That's according to a just-released telephone study of 1009 parents in Minnesota and Washington State for an article in the May issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two should not watch any TV.

The daily average of TV/DVD watching by children under a year old, according to the study by  researchers in Washington state and Minnesota, was an hour, which increased to an hour and a half by age two. Parents said they were watching with their kids more than half the time, and cited education, entertainment and babysitting as the big reasons for their young kids' TV time.

The study took a practical approach to its conclusions, saying that given that finding, parents should be active decisionmakers in their kids media choices, and to watch the shows and DVDs with them.

The study comes a year almost to the day after

DirecTV launched BabyFirst TV

, billed as the first 24-hour channel for babies and aimed at kids 6 months old to three years.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.