A study of 1,000 children aged 5 to 15 in New Zealand that counted the number of hours of TV watched and then followed up with the study participants at age 26 concluded that:
“Kids who watched the least TV – especially between the ages of 5 and 11 – had the highest probability of graduating from university by the age of 26, regardless of IQ or socioeconomic status. While those who watched the most TV, more than 3 hours per day, had the highest chance of dropping out of school without qualifications.
Furthermore, the effects seemed to be strongest for those who had a median IQ level, probably because the outcomes for the children at either IQ extreme are less likely to be affected by TV watching.”
Naturally, if screen time has such a powerful negative effect on academic performance, the last place a parent should put a TV is right in a child’s bedroom. And, sure enough, studies likewise show that having a TV in the bedroom correlates highly to academic non-performance.
Given the potentially damaging effects, Dr. David Walsh of MediaWise points out two very unfortunate facts:
“Look at the numbers. Fifty-three percent of American kids in general and 65% American teens have TVs in their bedrooms. Only 35% of American teens have their own stereo equipment and fewer teens have CD players and/or cassette players (57%) than have TVs in their bedrooms. All of these numbers add up to one alarming fact: TV is a huge part of most young people’s lives.
According to a study conducted by the National Institute on Media and the Family, children who have TVs in their bedrooms watch five and a half hours more TV each week than children who don’t have them in their bedrooms. This translates to almost an hour a day more TV. Kids don’t have to use this time for homework to help their chances in school. It can also be spent reading, drawing or doing any other activity that demands more than a passive viewing.”
Dr. Walsh’s view of this state of things is unequivocal:
“Fortunately we know what to do about it. It’s quite simple: let’s get the TVs out of our kids’ bedrooms. Our children’s academic futures deserve all the help we can give them.”
It’s time for parents to assert their authority to diminish harm to our kids. TVs need to be removed from the rooms of our children, and their TV viewing needs to be restricted. Anything less is Child Abuse.