TEDxRainier - Dimitri Christakis - Media and Children

  • Published on Dec 29, 2011
  • Dimitri Christakis is a pediatrician, parent, and researcher whose influential findings are helping identify optimal media exposure for children.
    In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Comments • 154

  • Staying Positive
    Staying Positive 3 months ago

    excellent. really excellent video. i wish i had known this with my first baby. he watched too much baby einstein...and i thought it was okay. i knew instinctively it wasn’t the best but i thought well he loves it and it isn’t as crazy as cartoon network. if i could go back i would read to him more, draw with him more etc. My second baby has barely watched media and she plays so much with toys. God can restore and now I know. But I would have done things differently. Every pediatrician needs to emphasize the screen time recs (NO SCREEN TIME UNDER ONE) and emphasize the importance of playing w ur baby and reading to them

  • Fermin Martinez-Trejo
    Fermin Martinez-Trejo 4 months ago +1

    Is there a link to the mice experiment anywhere?

  • Emmy Gustafson
    Emmy Gustafson 6 months ago

    Its dr. Lipshits!

  • Scott Henderson
    Scott Henderson 9 months ago

    Very interesting

  • K G
    K G 9 months ago +1

    I miss Mr. Rogers. One of my favorite shows as a kid. :-)

  • Bluecomet0
    Bluecomet0 10 months ago

    My right ear is lonely

  • josi
    josi 10 months ago

    alguém tem em português?

  • Doctor Astronomy
    Doctor Astronomy 11 months ago

    I watched this on TV!

  • nusrat jahan
    nusrat jahan 11 months ago

    My son shows autism sign behave after watching tv for 4 to 16 hours a day for 2 y 2 m of age . He can not stop doing unusual movement

  • Debbie Hanson
    Debbie Hanson 11 months ago +2

    One of the best research projects. Television viewing really does cause delays and behavior issues for young children.

  • Lauren Stanley
    Lauren Stanley Year ago

    He's pretty funny. I enjoyed listening to this and learned some stuff. Technically we might be lower income but my son scores advanced on everything but it really doesn't matter. I am just happy he is healthy! I put educational games on my ipad for my son and turn off the wifi and allow him to play those sometimes. They're matching shapes and letters and numbers and stuff like that...but I don't allow my toddler to watch anything til the end of the day for less than half an hour a day. I encourage him to play with toys and set up play stuff for him! We do playdough and painting and lots of stuff like that that I buy at the dollar store...I do use the media time as motivation for him to get through his bedtime routine and picking up his toys. We read almost every night the library is the best cheap source of books! They always have books for sale for like ten cents a book or somtimes $1/book...I think media time is a treat. But some educational media I feel is good but definitely not to be used in excess. We like Max the train, and Sesame street...Ok that's what works for us...He's two and half. I think I will use media time with caution after hearing this though. :)

  • Ehrenfried
    Ehrenfried Year ago

    What about older children watching TV?

  • Kemily Play
    Kemily Play Year ago


  • Yordanos Gnaro
    Yordanos Gnaro Year ago

    My son loves the game roblox try it out sorry about saying this it is just a good game for nite so sorry

  • Mikayla Merigan
    Mikayla Merigan Year ago +3

    The point of this TED talk isn't to say that technology or media is inherently bad. It's just providing a conclusion from research on the effects of fast-paced media on childhood development. This talk gives off the message of knowing what your child is learning and interacting with.

  • WalkingJOker
    WalkingJOker Year ago

    his lips smacking KILLS ME!!!!!!!!!! im gonna have ADHD becuz of it now. great lecture tho

  • I'm Gruwidge
    I'm Gruwidge Year ago +6

    There is a lot of people here that are saying to not let their child watch any television but i disagree. Not all television is bad for children (i.e. like they showed Mister Rodgers), however what a child watches before the age of three should be heavely monitored, and more time should be spent playing with the child compared to time watching television.
    The media can teach children many things, but can also do them harm, there are good sides and bad sides. Some PSA's in children shows can educate the child, but also some more violent media can make the child normalise violence. You need to separate the good from the bad. For a 3 year old, the Powerpuff movie would be over stimulating but for a 8 or 9 year old it should not be too damageing.
    At the age of 7, i think maybe at max 3 hours of television during a week day shouldn't be that bad as long as the child is also playing with their parent or other children.

  • WafflesOWNz Archive
    WafflesOWNz Archive 2 years ago +7

    -Cartoons made with the purpose of entertainment are NOT made for ages 0-3.
    -There are many pros and cons with having ADD. Adults with ADD function fine with living, but the problem is that they don't learn things the same way other people do, and society sticks to lectures and readings as the only way to teach. There are many people with ADD/ADHD with incredible accomplishments that use their creativity and problem solving skills.
    -It is important not to leave your child addicted to ANYTHING and always spend time with them. THIS DOES NOT MEAN SHUT THEM OFF FROM TECHNOLOGY AND MEDIA ENTIRELY!
    -The blocks experiment was off topic. Of course it's better to train your brain and interact with parents than to do nothing.
    -In conclusion: play with your children, let them use technology, ADD is not the end of the world (nor will a controlled amount of media cause it), and make sure they watch cartoon network only after age 5 or so because the target demographic is pre-teen.

  • Winter Star
    Winter Star 2 years ago

    Rapid scene changes, much less, showing sheep at a weird angle, interspersing puppet/animation and real scenes, etc....guaranteed to trigger weird developments.
    There was huge change in minds/development between non-literate to literate transitions in history. Changes in mind-wiring have been coming faster and faster, with new tech developments. Now, whole generations of people with attention spans of gnats; and for some reason, this is happening to adults, too.
    MAYbe electronics are Not what they're cracked up to be.
    MAYbe we really need to keep our paper books, that can be taken with us almost anywhere, and read, say, sitting out in actual nature. MAYbe, all the kids with high-functioning ASD, could have some better adjustment, by spending more time in nature.
    PLEASE bring back Mr. Rogers! It's invaluable!
    Any who still believe that all the violence, in all forms of media, are safe, are deluded.

  • Loretta Muhammad
    Loretta Muhammad 2 years ago +3

    Is it possible to reduce this damage?

    • I'm Gruwidge
      I'm Gruwidge Year ago

      more cognitive activities with your child reduces the likeliness by 30% and hour

  • Brice Brown
    Brice Brown 2 years ago +1

    Yeah Baby McDonald was part of the later series which was much worse. The Ones made from before 2000 are much better at stimulation. Julie Clark knows how to treat children, not Disney.

    • Kids Unplugged
      Kids Unplugged 11 months ago

      This is really beautiful. Seeing there are still parents out there who believe that Kids shouldn't have unlimited screen time in the guise of educational apps. Yes we all want our kids to be Happy and healthy. But parents, WE ARE ALL tired and often, our actions show that what we really want for our kids to be quietly occupied not HAPPY and HEALTHY.
      For centuries that was achieved through rocks and sticks and imaginations, comic books and a bit of tv. And now we have the iPad and the smartphones. But while they are great restaurant distractions, do you ever wonder what those touchscreens are doing in those growing little brains?
      Cyberbullying is also very prevalent among teens nowadays which is causing anxiety, depression and unfortunately suicide. :( This is the kind of monster we are breeding EVERYTIME we say “But it’s just easier to plop them down with the iPad.” Or, “They’ll throw a fit if they don’t get to play with my iPhone.”
      Really this has got to stop before anything tragic happens to our kids.

  • Nibba 007
    Nibba 007 2 years ago +2

    Hey, a TED talk that isn't garbage. nice

  • Julie Worley
    Julie Worley 3 years ago +1

    7/2016 #BackToSchoolBeatings?AbileneISD eliminates corporal punishment liability too great #TNHB0689 #ACEs #ENDviolence www.reporternews.com/news/education/abilene-isd-eliminates-corporal-punishment-from-discipline-methods-for-2016-17-37eae920-dd57-3932-e0-387365381.html

  • Sotheby's International Realty: Desiree Lapin

    Here at an LAUSD Gifted and Talented Presentation and Dr. Lucy Hunt recommends this. www.parentseducationleague.org

  • Salmon_Sweet
    Salmon_Sweet 4 years ago +3


  • Bene Ramirez
    Bene Ramirez 4 years ago +5

    Here is their article. www.nature.com/articles/srep00546

    • Endri X
      Endri X 3 years ago +1

      +Bene Ramirez Thanks!

  • EPOS
    EPOS 4 years ago +3

    So the only data that backs up Dimitri's claims are lab rats? Have some real data for validity please.

    • Ki-tae Bryan Park
      Ki-tae Bryan Park 3 years ago +4

      +EPOS It's a common mistake to misunderstand validity and what it means to those in academia. In EPOS's defence let me educate Danielle and dfjr1990 about science.
      Validity refers to whether or not a test measures what it is supposed to measure. Google validity and reliability. It confirms what I've learned from my education (which you probably paid for and I am grateful for) reinforced over many years. You will find plenty of support for that definition of validity in the context of application of the scientific method and data analysis.
      SO. If the takeaway from the children's study is that early exposure is critical to language development, then this wasn't the way to test it. If you really think about it, the children's study proves that if you spend more time communicating with your child, your child will communicate earlier (not better *JUST* earlier). He has to prove that children who got blocks early learned language faster than children who got blocks later on, and nothing else affected those results. But in his presentation he gave away an obvious 'confounding variable' (you should learn that one too on top of validity and reliability) and that was communication with parents. If the children spent more time with their parents, especially if those parents are trying to communicate via 'bloctivities', then of course the children who spent more time with parents attempting to communicate to their children are going to communicate better. The speaker set it up so that it was seemingly the early exposure versus the late exposure that made the difference in language ability, but this experiment set-up is invalid because he did not account for the third variable of time spent with a parent attempting to communicate with their child. Anyone paying attention will point out the invalidity of the test and request that he remove the parental variable from the test and re-do the study.
      You may have fallen into a common pitfall that because it was 'randomized' it was a scientifically robust study but I think I can fairly speak for others in academia that this isn't a valid study.
      The Lab Rat data is valid because it measures difference in behavior between a control group and an experimental group. It measures exactly what it's supposed to measure, which was that overstimulated mice tended to act differently than normal mice. In this case, Dimitri did a good job on making a valid test.
      His conclusion on the novelty test though is unsupported. Without further study, one cannot say why and how overstimulation has caused this difference, but only prove that it DOES. Why do you believe he can differentiate whether or not a mice knows a novel object? Perhaps the overstimulated mice had already fully understood the novelty of the object. If you were to apply that to humans, it's like saying your overstimulated kid memorized the multiplication table faster than the normally stimulated kid. That could then be a good thing and you should keep your kid locked up in a TV room with surround sound speakers (please don't, i was being sarcastic. Too much of anything is bad and we all know this). How does one measure the presence of 'care' about an object in mice? Can he ask the mice if it cares? No. So where did he get that conclusion? How did he know that the overstimulated mice was taking more risk and not learning faster than the normal mice that the center of the box was actually a safe area (yes, mice learn. This has been proven many many times. Get over it if you don't believe me). His conclusions are covered in his own bias, which is a big no-no in science.
      And there was no methods provided for the TV and attention problems at age 7. He said they tested it, but he didn't illuminate on how they tested it. Was there a control group? How did they pick the sample? What's the sample size? These and many other questions to judge whether or not the test was valid were left unanswered. Although I want to believe that study was valid, without knowing the methods we cannot accurately judge that. So for that one we'll just say fine, but take it with a grain of salt that this tv study may also be invalid based on his track record. And if I really wanted to go into further research, then I would search the known databases for his publications and read them myself. That's how fact-checking works.
      And the best part is, if you didn't read all that carefully, Danielle and dfjr1990, perhaps you too watched too much as a child and are brainwashed. Before you say someone's wrong, make sure you're right. And if you're wrong, do not be prideful and be quick to admit it. That's what I've learned in school. Just because the speaker is a pediatrician, researcher, and parent, if he doesn't do research properly or show that it was done properly then he is potentially trying to mislead you.
      Have a nice day and I hope you all learned something about science.
      Now let's go finish my paper on effects of technology on child development.

    • Danny 90
      Danny 90 4 years ago +3

      @EPOS You're an example of people who are brainwashed to the point where their ego clouds their ideology

    • Endevide
      Endevide 4 years ago +2

      @EPOS From 14:10 he talks about the study with the children.

    • Danielle Guerra
      Danielle Guerra 4 years ago +8

      I guess you conveniently tuned out the parts where he talked about studies involving actual children.
      Perhaps you watched too much as a child.

  • bstad4321
    bstad4321 4 years ago

    This is a great video, but I just can't get past his cotton mouth smacking every time he speaks. This is exactly why having some water on hand while presenting is a great idea.

  • Marshallizer
    Marshallizer 4 years ago +4

    it's impossible for a child not to be exposed to media unless there is some kind of extreme circumstance. it does take time and repetition for the media training to take place and the creation of desire doesn't happen in one view. I don't think we ever outgrow "play" or "toys." We're led along and trained to develop finer tastes that are more expensive. children's media is the boot camp for adult media. the parallels between kids media and adult media are outstanding because the kids' media is exactly where the training takes place. toy and media makers are about keeping business going. so training kids at a young age to adapt certain habits in a certain way helps them to grow up to be the perfect type of consumers who will respond on cue. i think modern technology gets too much credit for helping us in becoming imaginative. it may help some people, but for the most part it made a generation of gullible consumers even more passive.

  • k8reed
    k8reed 5 years ago +3

    Great lecture!

  • Pastor Pitcher
    Pastor Pitcher 5 years ago +25

    So glad for a friend sending this to me. It truly takes a village to raise a child.

    • Kids Unplugged
      Kids Unplugged 11 months ago

      It does take a village. And it is inspiring to see there are other moms out there who also believe that Kids shouldn't have unlimited screen time in the guise of educational apps. This is soo inspiring!
      Cyberbullying is also very prevalent among teens nowadays which is causing anxiety, depression and unfortunately suicide. :( This is the kind of monster we are breeding EVERYTIME we say “But it’s just easier to plop them down with the iPad.” Or, “They’ll throw a fit if they don’t get to play with my iPhone.”
      Really this has got to stop before anything tragic happens to our kids.

  • \/ibestr
    \/ibestr 5 years ago +3

    i was hoping he'd talk more about violent and/or sexual content children get exposed to on television. if something is disturbing, i imagine that would have an effect on our overall ability to focus.

  • Sriram V
    Sriram V 5 years ago


  • lekristajojo
    lekristajojo 5 years ago +4

    Wow... Doopelganger of Joe Mantegna...

    • Endevide
      Endevide 4 years ago

      @lekristajojo Really? O.o

    • Christine Alex
      Christine Alex 4 years ago +1

      @lekristajojo Wow I was just thinking that!!!

  • Elisa Pitashny
    Elisa Pitashny 5 years ago +14

    Media serves the parents not the children

  • Gunnar Leifsson
    Gunnar Leifsson 5 years ago +1

    I wonder if the effects hold for slightly older children watching fast paced tv/movies.I would think that they do.

    • TheCashhawk
      TheCashhawk 5 years ago +1

      Not as much as when the child is below 4 years. It is during the first 4 years of life when interactions with the world help form the lasting brain connections in children. If a child never watched television until they were 5 or 6, their brain development wouldn't be as affected as a 0 - 4 year old.

  • Inspiring stuff
    Inspiring stuff 5 years ago +4

    And viola... Rising rates of childhood ADHD is explained

    • \/ibestr
      \/ibestr 4 years ago +3

      correlation vs causation debate. i don't believe genes make you act in any particular way...just propensity as brought about by environment which the article mentioned. thanks for the feeback.

    • Jan
      Jan 4 years ago +2

      @o shah I am ADHD, it is a neurological disorder, usually inherited, that we are born with
      What the Tedx talk demonstrates is the adverse effect on the developing brain of babies, who are exposed to TV in their early years, which then leads to problems with attention in later life. Problems with attention is only one aspect of ADHD...

    • \/ibestr
      \/ibestr 5 years ago +1

      is ADHD more of a manufactured and modern disorder or can someone be actually born with it?

  • Katie Anderson
    Katie Anderson 5 years ago +30

    read them books people! kids love books! No ipads, games or longs tv hours for my kids, let them be kids, let them play outside on the grass with balls, rocks etc, get dirty and tired! I hate media and all kinds of ipad games no matter how they tell me that the games could be good for the kids!

  • Matthew Hennigar
    Matthew Hennigar 5 years ago +2

    Was Mr. Christakis' study of children and screen time controlled against high soft drink (caffeine and sugar) consumption? There may be a similar correlation

  • weesh
    weesh 5 years ago

    it seems that this is a problem for adults as well...I wonder what you can do to reverse it?

  • weesh
    weesh 5 years ago +12

    Mr Rogers was a super hero. Love that guy.

  • Joy Smith
    Joy Smith 5 years ago +1

    It's such a huge topic. This talk was about attention span, which is important. Too much screen time, no matter the content, can affect a child's eyesight and ability to sleep as well. Which is why I worry about schools giving their Kindergarteners iPads. It's an untested field we are entering.

  • Joy Smith
    Joy Smith 5 years ago +1

    The point where he says that "educational" programming didn't make a difference in attention span should have been clarified. "Baby Einstein" was bad, according to the parameters in his talk, because of the pacing of scene changes. But "Baby Einstein" is promoted as, and commonly thought of as, "educational" because of its content. Would have liked more clarification on this point. Does content count, or is it only pacing that counts?

  • PizzaLover
    PizzaLover 6 years ago

    I think it is right that we condition ourselves to expect stimuli. Why? well because if you don't we wont be capable of taking in all the media that is going to bombard us in the future and be able to sort it fast and efficiently. This sitting down in a class room and reading a book is degenerative, wouldn't it make more sense to ba able to use the most of your mind at all times? There should always be a time of relaxation regular amounts of sleep, but that's hard.

  • ligitpoker
    ligitpoker 6 years ago +1

    Mozart is like sex for the ears and soul.

  • ligitpoker
    ligitpoker 6 years ago

    I feel less negative about getting old seeing that small downward slope...we go back to being a teenager, that poops his pants and owns guns and a car!

  • Tommy8843
    Tommy8843 6 years ago +2

    If you don't already know that TV/Baby Einstein/Violence are bad for your kid while that social interaction and book reading is good for them - you likely have much bigger problems.

  • Amanda Taylor
    Amanda Taylor 6 years ago +1

    I wish more parents would watch this!

  • Sandra Kia
    Sandra Kia 6 years ago +2

    Now i see what mistake i have done with my first child. I will not do the same with my second child.

  • Ashtyn Kitty
    Ashtyn Kitty 6 years ago

    Ah. I see. And I wasn't trying to call you out or anything. I was just curious. Also, I would think that if your children are proud of you, and from what you say about being a parent, then that makes you a good parent.

  • Ashtyn Kitty
    Ashtyn Kitty 6 years ago

    So not to be rude, but then what is the point you are trying to make? I'm simply saying that you can find good and bad parents everywhere regardless of social status. Money and number of children does not dictate how much or how less you love and interact with your child (at least it shouldn't, in my opinion). Also in a previous post you mention you have 6 children. The norm is 2 I believe; so where are you placing yourself? I would assume that you also think your a good parent?

  • Ashtyn Kitty
    Ashtyn Kitty 6 years ago

    really? rich parents are better? these would be the rich parents that are buying their children ipads and letting them watch tv, not read them read books or play with them, what christakis said was low income... there is a difference between low income, middle income and rich... money has nothing to do with how good of a parent you are, i've met a lot of shitty rich parents and a lot of shitty low income parents, in contrast there are a lot of great parents from each income family...

  • Rama F
    Rama F 6 years ago +1

    and confirms that rich parents are better parents. But we already knew that too.

    SLAVESweARE 6 years ago +1

    "What we have here is a guy who found a path to celebrity by telling parents what they want to hear"....
    Because every parent I know LOVES to use television as the surrogate babysitter...Every parent I know has bought their child 100 Disney DVD's by the time their child is of school age...
    You want real science? How about every day observation?
    I have 3 kids... HOW ABOUT YOU?

    Everything Dr. Christakis speaks of I have observed first hand with my children...

  • tuuky
    tuuky 6 years ago +2

    Feynman is one of my heroes, which is the main reason I'm replying to you. While I understand what he means by the rigors of science, one cannot dismiss the work of social scientists based on a 16 minute TED talk. Dr. Christakis has dedicated his career to studying the effects of media in children. He and others have conducted MANY studies and there are many correlations that provide interesting questions in these studies. I know there are quacks doing pseudoscience out there, but this isn't one

  • olimario
    olimario 6 years ago +1

    12 people couldn't sit through the entire video and disliked it.

  • olimario
    olimario 6 years ago

    This video confirms what any good parents already knows instinctively.
    Read your kid a book and interact with them. Don't let TV babysit.

  • SantosHypnotherapy
    SantosHypnotherapy 6 years ago +1

    I think this was a great talk. No wonder why I feel so overwhelmed by certain pre-teen & teen shows that I happen to stumble upon sometimes while trying to find something to watch on tv. The kid actors there seem to be so hyper-active and it's difficult to keep yourself focused on anything...And don't get me started with all the colorful costumes and all the background sounds on those shows. I always find myself drifting towards watching PBS shows...

    PARASNIP 7 years ago +1

    hahahah, priceless. love the username btw!

  • PavlovsBitch
    PavlovsBitch 7 years ago

    And guess who's heading up FDA,CIA,Congress,Pentagon and anything else you can imagine (always the banks who financed and started all wars for profit). Do you expect 'them' to suddenly change a habit of eternity and stop anything they've been doing and plan to do? It's 'we' who 'have to do something about it'. By stopping our consent, stop taking these poisons and take personal responsibility for our thoughts, actions, health, life.Simple.