more TV kids watch the lower their test scores
July 6th 2005
Kids and the TV
Do you remember the old
saying “You are what you eat”? Now it appears you are what you watch
also. According to a series of reports out this month in the Archives of
Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, watching too much TV may lower test
Three studies being
published this month will examine the effects of Television. In the
first study, Dina L.G. Borzekowski, an assistant professor at Johns
Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said “We
looked at the household media environment in relation to academic
achievement on mathematics, reading and language arts tests… We found
that the household media environment has a very close association with
performance on the different test scores”.
The researchers found that kids with a
TV in their room were likely to score 8 points lower on mathematics
tests compared to a child who does not have a TV in their room.
However, children with a home computer are likely to have higher scores
on tests in general.
The second study compared TV watching in
kids 5 to 15 years of age. The researchers found that kids that watched
the most TV during those ages were less likely to graduate from college
by their mid 20’s. The study was conducted by the University of Otago
in Dunedin, New Zealand.
In a prepared statement Dr. Robert J.
Hancox said "We found that the more television the child had watched,
the more likely they were to leave school without any qualifications ... Those who watched little
television had the best chance of going on to university and earning a
"An interesting finding was that
although teenage viewing was strongly linked to leaving school without
any qualifications, it was earlier childhood viewing that had the
greatest impact on getting a degree," he said. "This suggests that
excessive television in younger children has a long-lasting adverse
effect on educational performance."
In the third study
Frederick J. Zimmerman and
Dr. Dimitri A. Christakis from the University of Washington found that
young children that watched TV were more likely to score lower on
mathematics, reading recognition and reading comprehension tests.
"We looked at how much television
children watched before age 3 and then at ages 3 to 5," Zimmerman said.
"We found that for children who watched a small amount of TV in the
earlier years, there was considerable beneficial effect compared to
children who watched a lot of TV."
For children aged 3 to 5, the effect
was not as clear, Zimmerman said. "There were some beneficial effects of
watching TV on reading, but no beneficial effects for math or
vocabulary.” He went on to say "The worst pattern was to watch more
than three hours of TV before age 3 (per day). Those kids had a significant
disadvantage compared to the other kids."
Academy of Pediatrics recommends
that children under the age of two not watch any TV. One expert
believes that TV can have both positive and negative effects, but it all
depends on what children are watching. According to Deborah L. Linebarger, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania
"Content matters, Educational content has been found to be related to
performance on school readiness tests, higher grades when they are
teenagers, whereas, non-educational content tends to be associated with
lower academic performance."
According to the Academy:
The average child watches 3 hours
of TV a day -- 2 hours of quality programming is the maximum recommended
by the Academy.
Active play time is needed to
develop mental, physical and social skills.
Children who watch violence on TV
are more likely to display aggressive behavior.
Young children don't know the
difference between programs and commercials.
Best Syndication Staff Writer