Into the Minds of Babes

Into the Minds of Babes

How Screen Time Affects Children From Birth to Age Five

Book - 2007
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As a mother, Lisa Guernsey wondered about the influence of television on her two young daughters. As a reporter, she resolved to find out. What she first encountered was tired advice, sensationalized research claims, and a rather draconian mandate from the American Academy of Pediatrics: no TV at all before the age of two. But like many parents, she wanted straight answers and realistic advice, so she kept digging: she visited infant-perception labs and child development centers around the country. She interviewed scores of parents, psychologists, cognitive scientists, and media researchers, as well as programming executives at Noggin, Disney, Nickelodeon, Sesame Workshop, and PBS. Much of what she found flies in the face of conventional wisdom and led her to conclude that new parents will be best served by focusing on "the three C's": content, context, and the individual child.


Advocating a new approach to television and DVDs, Guernsey focuses on infants to five-year-olds and goes beyond the headlines to explore what exactly is "educational" about educational media. She examines how play and language development are affected by background and foreground television and how to choose videos that are age-appropriate. She explains how to avoid the hype of "brain stimulation" and focus instead on social relationships and the building blocks of language and literacy. Along the way, Guernsey highlights independent research on shows ranging from Dora the Explorer to Dragon Tales, and distills some surprising new findings in the field of child development. Into the Minds of Babes is a fascinating book that points out how little credible research exists to support the AAP's dire recommendation. Parents, teachers, and psychologists will be relieved to learn positive approaches to using videos with young children and will be empowered to make their own informed choices. 

Publisher: New York, NY : Basic Books : 2007
ISBN: 9780465027989
Branch Call Number: 791.45 G937i
Characteristics: 287p

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vpl_childrens Dec 15, 2015

Lisa Guernsey approaches the topic from the point of view of a parent and a reporter. The book explores screen time mostly in the context of television.

PBnuffsaid Jul 27, 2014

I liked this book a lot. I am a speech-language pathologist and very interested in the 0-5 population. Given the recent article posted in the Wall Street Journal regarding speech therapy and DIY at home with apps, this book is even more relevant.

Lisa Guernsey is a journalist with two daughters. Not only is she interested in the subject matter as a point of popular culture information, but as a mother who let her eldest daughter watch TV and movies during the 0-5 stage. Throughout the book she put just enough of her own personal story on the pages to keep the reader grounded on what all of this means, without getting too personal and away from the point.

I thought this book was very organized with great citations at the end of each chapter as well as a bibliography at the end of the book. This is a book I plan on rereading someday and owning my own copy (this was a library book) to be able to make notations (which I rarely do).

Into the Minds of Babes not only explores how much TV your child should(n't) watch, but why. From the "zombie effect" to how children play while the TV is on, even when they're not watching, to why Sesame Street and Dora are actually well made and good shows (within reason).

Also, I'm pretty sure this is the exact same book as Screen Time: How Electronic Media—From Baby Videos to Educational Software—Affects Your Young Child by this author, published 2012 - except Screen Time is a better title to catch readers and encompass what the book is actually about.

I would recommend this book (or Screen Time) to anyone with an infant/toddler/preschooler who's interested in the effects TV/movies/tablets might be having on their child's development.

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PBnuffsaid Jul 27, 2014

PBnuffsaid thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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