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Parents Talk to Kids Less with Background TV

Having TV on in the background while you play with your toddler may hinder the child's language development, a new study suggests. That's because parents talked to their children less when the TV was on. Talking to young children is considered important for helping them learn to speak. The study included 49 parents and their children, who were 12, 24 or 36 months old. Parents were asked to play with their children for an hour in a study laboratory. Age-appropriate toys were provided. Half of the time, the TV was on. The programs were appropriate to adults or older children. For the other half hour, the TV was off. Researchers observed and kept track of parents' interactions with their children. Parents spoke about 9 times per minute and said about 36 words per minute with the TV off. Each minute that the TV was on, parents spoke about 6 times and said about 24 words.

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