Study: TV can impair speech development of young children

A new study adds to the debate over whether television impairs children's language development.It found that parents and children virtually stop talking to each other when the TV is on, even if they're in the same room.

For every hour in front of the TV, parents spoke 770 fewer words to children, according to a study of 329 children, ages 2 months to 4 years, in the June issue ofArchives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.Adults usually speak about 941 words an hour.

Christakis and his colleagues fitted children with digital devices that recorded everything they heard or said one day a month for an average of six months. A speech-recognition program, which could differentiate TV content from human voices, compared the number of words exchanged when televisions were on or off.