From: https://parenting.stackexchange.com/a/2714/2221

The recommendation against watching TV is not, as I understand it, because it shortens the attention span, but because it overloads the mind. A small child is not mentally capable of processing so much visual input and will be overwhelmed.

We have ceiling fans in all our rooms. Our 2 months old baby keeps on staring at the fan when lying on her back.

Considering the above quote is watching a moving fan equally harmful to an infant's mental development as is a TV?

If yes, what could be the preventive measures?

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    I have no data to back this up with, so a comment instead of an answer: the difference between television, and a fan, is massive. There really isn't that much visual input with a fan: it is a single object rotating. Television typically involves multiple characters interacting in social settings, background settings, moving objects, and scene changes. Personally, I wouldn't be concerned about a ceiling fan. – user420 Aug 15 '13 at 15:10
  • Thanks @Beofett. I was worried. Question: also, I want to know if video chat with parents is considered same as watching tv. – Aquarius_Girl Aug 15 '13 at 15:49
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    As far as I understand one big issue with TV is the fast switching between camera angles - apparently that is part of the overload. In actual day to day life your child only has one angle, his eyes. If I find the backup data from the source where I got this info I'll expand to a full answer when I have time (or someone else can use this as a tip and go answer). – justkt Aug 15 '13 at 17:26

Not being an expert, here is what I believe:

As Beofett points out in his comment, there's a huge difference between TV and a ceiling fan. The problem with TV is sensory overload because of the rapid change in colors, movements, shapes, and so on -- this is what babies see when they're too young to recognize the image as this is one scene, here's the next.

TV provides too much visual stimulation. A ceiling fan does not. I guess it would be a lot more soothing, although the rotation speed might be high. Also, the ceiling fan is high up and definitely out of reach; this adds both a physical and mental distance that you wouldn't have with a TV.

In that sense, a lava lamp might be ideal because of its slow changes in shape but not in color.

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