I've tried to find out whether or not TV-watching is harmful or not for a child's development but haven't really found any good sources. Any tips on studies etc highly appreciated.
One of BabyCenter's bloggers has several entries about TV and children. Most of this information is starting to get quite old, however.
She's also blogged about the American Academy of Pediatrics' TV watching guidelines. (The link she provides is dead now.)
The AAP also has studies about television and videogame exposure and their effects on development.
Finally, Babycenter has a more recently blog post about this topic:
However, as someone who currently loves TV and pretty much always has, I will say this much: it is up to parents to monitor what their kids are watching and how much of it they are. I was not allowed to watch SNL or any programs at 9pm until I was in middle school, and my afternoon television intake was limited to 3 hours in the summer and 2 hours during the school year. I also had to be in bed by a certain time, but I was allowed to read for an hour after that time. My parents kept an eye on the programs I watched (I watched a lot of PBS, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network. My younger sibling watched Disney Channel more than CN by comparison) and encouraged us to watch movies (complete stories) and read as much as we liked. I had more trips to the library than to the video rental place, and I checked out far more books and music than I ever did movies.
My parents (and I, moreso than they) monitored my brother's videogame intake as well; we played racing games and RPGs until both of us were teenagers, and then the fighting and FPS games were introduced. I refused to let Aaron buy (or to be allowed to be coerced into buying for him) any rated M games until I knew he was mature enough and/or old enough to be able to understand that games are fantasy. But my childhood and today's childhood are really different.
Still, I'm firmly of the belief -- one that I've heard parroted back at me by various edutainment personalities -- that parents need to be involved in their kids' media consumption. I never once thought that TV was "real" in the way that my daily interactions were, and my parents taught me that actions have consequences.
And hey, I turned out all right -- I was G&T throughout primary and secondary school, took lots of AP classes, and graduated with an A- average from a top-ranked university business program. TV was not detrimental to my development. Well, no more so than wanting to watch it meant I didn't do my homework, haha.
I'm not sure about a consensus, but here are links that summarize research on the effects of television on various aspects of child development.
The results reported here indicate "negative associations between television viewing before age three years and adverse cognitive outcomes at ages six and seven years."
"By contrast, this analysis suggests that television viewing at ages three to five years has a more beneficial effect, at least for the outcomes of reading recognition and short-term memory. The researchers found no beneficial effect on mathematics outcomes or reading comprehension."
At http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/09/27/the-debilitating-effects-of-tv-on-children/ outcomes from 3 different sources are cited below.