Yesterday my baby acquired a valuable life skill: He learned how to watch television.  I’m thrilled for at least three reasons:

1. Television is fun.  I don’t want my son to miss out on one of life’s great pleasures.

2. Television is a cheap electronic baby-sitter that allows parents of young kids to get a much-needed break.

3. When my son is older, the threat to deprive him of television will become one of our most convenient and effective tools of discipline.  The naughty corner‘s usually enough, but when bad behavior persists, it’s time for a night without t.v.

Won’t t.v. stunt my baby’s cognitive development?  Hardly.  Twin and adoption studies find zero long-run effect on IQ of all family environment combined.  Television’s isn’t just a drop in the bucket; it’s a drop in a bucket that doesn’t hold water.