The goal of this study was to determine whether verbal interactions between mothers and their 6-month-old infants during media exposure (‘media verbal interactions’) might have direct positive impacts, or mitigate any potential adverse impacts of media exposure, on language development at 14 months. For 253 low-income mother–infant dyads participating in a longitudinal study, media exposure and media verbal interactions were assessed using 24-hour recall diaries. Additionally, general level of cognitive stimulation in the home [StimQ] was assessed at 6 months and language development [Preschool Language Scale-4] was assessed at 14 months. Results suggest that media verbal interactions play a role in the language development of infants from low-income, immigrant families. Evidence showed that media verbal interactions moderated adverse impacts of media exposure found on 14-month language development, with adverse associations found only in the absence the these interactions. Findings also suggest that media verbal interactions may have some direct positive impacts on language development, in that media verbal interactions during the co-viewing of media with educational content (but not other content) were predictive of 14-month language independently of overall level of cognitive stimulation in the home. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.