Little couch potatoes. Whether, how much and what kind of television babies and toddlers watch is a hot topic - hot in popularity and controversy. Salon recently interviewed Lisa Guernsey, author of a new book on the topic, Into the Minds of Babes: How Screen Time Affects Children from Birth to Age Five, (which we've just added to our list of library holds). Guernsey, a reporter and mother of two, takes a balanced look at the research into children and television and presents it in a way that is helpful and realistic for parents tackling this topic in their own home. One of the most intesting parts of the Salon interview is about the effects that background noise from tv and radio can have on young children. Guernsey cites a study which found that infants and toddlers have a very difficult time sorting out spoken language in the home when its competing with background noise. Background noise also may affect the way in which children interact with their toys and the amount of interaction parents have with children. Guernsey weighs in on the "educational" programming controversy and mentions some shows she thinks draw on solid research about how kids learn (like Blues Clues). She also looks at the link between tv watching and obesity and you may be surprised by the findings. What most interests us about the book is that Guernsey writes as both a reporter and mother. She's not out to judge and she's open and frank about the role television plays in her own household - and how it's changed as a result of her research. Has anyone read this book yet and can offer us their assessment? Into the Minds of Babes is available at your local bookstore or online here. The Salon interview is here. Another relevant post: Baby Einstein: A Bright Idea?