Archive for the ‘Children and T.V.-Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine’ Category

Children and T.V.-Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine

December 4, 2009
Children’s Television Viewing and Cognitive Outcomes
A Longitudinal Analysis of National Data
 
Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine Vol. 159 No. 7, July 2005, pp. 619-625
Frederick J. Zimmerman, PhD; Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPH
 
KEY POINTS
 
1) The mean number of hours per day of television viewing was:
     2.2 hours per day for children younger than 3 years
     3.9 hours per day for children aged 3 to 5 years
     3.54 hours per day for children aged 6 years 

2) “59% of children younger than 2 years watch television every day.

3) “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children younger than 2 years and only high-quality, age-appropriate viewing thereafter.”

4) Low achieving children use television as a substitute for learning.

5) The lower the education of the parent, the more hours of television their children watched.

6) Television viewing by children reduces cognitive outcomes.

7) Increased children’s television viewing increase obesity, inactivity, attentional problems, aggression, and negatively alters sleep patterns.

8)  Reduced television improves performance IQ and attention time on cognitive tasks.

9) Television and videos depress imagination and creativity.

10) Before age 3, each hour of television viewing per day reduced reading recognition by 31%.

11) Before age 3, each hour of television viewing per day reduced reading comprehension by 58%.

12) Before age 3, each hour of television viewing per day reduced memory by 10%. 

13) There is a negative association between television viewing before age 3 years and adverse cognitive outcomes at ages 6 and 7 years.

14) Television for very young children, including educational television is not helpful for cognitive development and is actually harmful.

15) Early television viewing actually harms the development of a child’s brain.

16) “The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued guidelines urging parents to avoid any television or video viewing before age 2 years.”

17) Greater adherence to the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines that children younger than 2 years not watch television is warranted.

FROM ABSTRACT

Objective

To test the independent effects of television viewing in children before age 3 years and at ages 3 to 5 years on several measures of cognitive outcomes at ages 6 and 7 years. 

Design

Using data from a nationally representative data set, we regressed 4 measures of cognitive development at ages 6 and 7 years on television viewing before age 3 years and at ages 3 to 5 years, controlling for parental cognitive stimulation throughout early childhood, maternal education, and IQ.

Results

Before age 3 years, the children in this study watched an average of 2.2 hours per day; at ages 3 to 5 years, the daily average was 3.3 hours.

Adjusted for the covariates mentioned earlier, each hour of average daily television viewing before age 3 years was associated with deleterious effects on the Peabody Individual Achievement Test Reading Recognition Scale of 0.31 points, on the Peabody Individual Achievement Test Reading Comprehension Scale of 0.58 points, and on the Memory for Digit Span assessment from the Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children of –0.10 points.

Conclusions

There are modest adverse effects of television viewing before age 3 years on the subsequent cognitive development of children. 

These results suggest that greater adherence to the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines that children younger than 2 years not watch television is warranted. 

THESE AUTHORS ALSO NOTE:

“A large number of studies have reported deleterious effects of children’s television viewing on outcomes such as obesity, inactivity, attentional problems, aggression, and sleep patterns.” 

Children aged 3 to 5 years watch an average of 2 hours or more of television per day, and much of this is not devoted to educational programming.

“59% of children younger than 2 years regularly watch television every day, and these children watch 1.3 hours of television per day, despite the fact that there is no programming of proven educational value targeted at this age range.”

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children younger than 2 years and only high-quality, age-appropriate viewing thereafter.”

One study reports that “high achievers” used television as a complement to school learning, whereas “low achievers” used television as a substitute for it.

Another study showed that the lower the education of the parent, the more hours of television their children watched.

Television viewing by children reduces cognitive outcomes.

Reduced television improves performance IQ and attention time on cognitive tasks.

Television and video have been shown “to depress imagination and creativity.”

Parents need to be advised to undertake greater efforts to steer their children toward educational television and/or reduce overall television viewing time.

The participants in this study were age 6 and were assessed for memory, mathematics, reading recognition, and reading comprehension.

Age 6 years was chosen because it’s the age at which many children begin first grade and television viewing typically drops off at this time.

In this study, the primary predictor of interest was the hours of television watched per day prior to age 6 years.

“When parents reported that their child watched more than 16 hours per day, they were dropped from the analysis because the response was not credible.” [Interesting]

The scores on each of the outcomes revealed that “all scores were lower among the children with unreasonably high TV hours than among the children with values in the reasonable range, and these differences were significant.”

“Certain parents may be either less invested than others in their children’s cognitive development or simply less aware of the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines and the potential adverse effects of television viewing. Such parents may be more permissive in allowing their children access to large amounts of television time and also less likely to spend time reading to their children, taking them to museums and zoos, and so forth.”

The mean number of hours per day of television viewing was:

2.2 hours per day for children younger than 3 years

3.9 hours per day for children aged 3 to 5 years

3.54 hours per day for children aged 6 years

“Television viewing before age 3 years was associated with a deleterious effect on both reading recognition and reading comprehension, with each additional hour per day leading to a reduction in scores of 0.31 and 0.58, respectively.”

[This means there was a 31% reduction in reading recognition and a 58% reduction in reading comprehension with each additional hour per day of television watching for children younger than age 3 years].

Early television viewing was associated with an adverse effect on memory, with each hour per day viewed associated with a 10% decrease in the score.

In families with a lower than median income, each hour per day of television viewing before age 3 years was associated with a 45% decrease in the math score.

COMMENT BY AUTHORS:

“This analysis has shown a consistent pattern of negative associations between television viewing before age 3 years and adverse cognitive outcomes at ages 6 and 7 years.”

These authors propose 3 mechanisms for these observed effects of television watching:

1) Children younger than 3 years who spend more time watching television spend less time in other activities, such as imaginative free play, interactions with adults, and so forth, that would be beneficial to their cognitive development.

2) The content of the television they watch is deleterious to their cognitive development.

3) It may be that the medium itself is deleterious, whether because of aspects of the production (eg, the pacing and rapid scene changes) or the simple fact of looking in a single direction at a single stimulus for a long time.

“This study suggests that television for very young children [including educational television] is not helpful for cognitive development and may indeed be harmful.”

 Because of the way these authors conducted this study, they do not believe that television viewing is deleterious to children’s cognitive development because it displaces more valuable activities, such as reading. Rather, they believe that television viewing is deleterious because “the intense visual and aural stimuli” of television is harmful to the development of children’s brains in the early years, and that early exposure to television can have adverse consequences on brain processing.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued guidelines urging parents to avoid any television or video viewing before age 2 years.”

“This analysis complements this earlier work by suggesting that viewing a heavy television diet entails modest, but statistically significant, consequences for subsequent development in several key cognitive domains.”

————————————————————————– Article #2

The Remote, the Mouse, and the No. 2 Pencil

The Household Media Environment and Academic Achievement Among Third Grade Students

Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, July 2005;159:607-613.

Dina L. G. Borzekowski, EdD; Thomas N. Robinson, MD, MPH

KEY POINTS

1) Media influences a child’s physical, social, and cognitive development, and academic achievement.

2) Having a bedroom television results in significantly worse performance on standardized tests.

3) Having access to a home computer and using it is positively associated with test scores.

4) The best test scores were had by those children with no bedroom television combined with access to a home computer.

5) This study adds to the growing literature reporting that having a bedroom television set is detrimental to young elementary school children.

6) “United States households with children have an average of 2.8 television sets, and 97% of these households have at least 1 VCR or DVD player.”

7) Children use screen-based electronic media for up to 6 hours per day.

 8)   Children and adults who use media more heavily are at greater risk for obesity and aggressive behavior.

9) Greater television access and use are associated with less time reading and doing homework.

10) Boys who spent more time playing video games are less academically successful than their peers who played infrequently.

11) “Students reported an average of 3.3 television sets per household, with only 5% of students indicating just 1 home television set.”

12) “The surveys revealed that VCRs were ubiquitous, with 2% of students saying that no television sets in their homes were connected to VCRs.”

13) “90% reported that they had a video game player that used either a television set or handheld platform.”

14) 71% of children had a bedroom television set.

15) 97% boys reported video game ownership vs. 80% girls.

16) Children with a bedroom television set watched 12.8 hours per week.

17) “Students with a bedroom television scored significantly lower on all the tests compared with their peers without bedroom television sets.” [Important]

18) The lowest test scores were from children who had a television in their bedroom and no access to a computer.

19) Children with bedroom television sets have more trouble falling asleep and have decreased sleep duration, which impact their academic performance.

20) Children with poorer grades are more likely to watch more violent television.

21) These authors “recommend that parents not allow televisions in the children’s bedrooms or remove them if they are already present.”

22) No children benefit from having a bedroom television.

23) Bedroom televisions increase being overweight and having trouble sleeping.

FROM ABSTRACT

Background

Media can influence aspects of a child’s physical, social, and cognitive development; however, the associations between a child’s household media environment, media use, and academic achievement have yet to be determined.

Objective

To examine relationships among a child’s household media environment, media use, and academic achievement.

Methods

During a single academic year, data were collected through classroom surveys and telephone interviews from an ethnically diverse sample of third grade students and their parents from 6 northern California public elementary schools.

The data included academic achievement assessed through the mathematics, reading, and language arts sections of the Stanford Achievement Test.

Results

The household media environment is significantly associated with students’ performance on the standardized tests.

It was found that having a bedroom television set was significantly and negatively associated with students’ test scores, while home computer access and use were positively associated with the scores.

Absence of a bedroom television combined with access to a home computer was consistently associated with the highest standardized test scores.

Conclusion

This study adds to the growing literature reporting that having a bedroom television set may be detrimental to young elementary school children.

It also suggests that having and using a home computer may be associated with better academic achievement.

THESE AUTHORS ALSO NOTE:

Many parents assume that television is bad and computers are good, at least when it comes to children’s cognitive development and academic achievement.

“A common argument is that watching television is passive, promoting zombie-like behaviors, while computer use is active, encouraging problem solving and mental stimulation.”

“United States households with children have an average of 2.8 television sets, and 97% of these households have at least 1 VCR or DVD player.”

“More than two thirds of households with children have at least 1 computer and more than half (53%) have home Internet access.”

“Youth concurrently use screen-based electronic media for up to 6 hours per day.”

People who use media more heavily are at greater risk for obesity and aggressive behavior.

Children’s advocates have claimed that media use interferes with how children allot time and focus on their studies.

Greater television access and use are associated with less time reading and doing homework.

“In a recent experiment, those doing homework with a television soap opera broadcast in the background performed significantly more poorly and slowly than those with music videos, radio, and nothing playing in the background.”

A study found that boys who spent more time playing video games were less academically successful than their peers who played infrequently.

“Researchers have found that computer use, which includes playing games, word processing, and seeking information, is associated with more advanced spatial, iconic, and visual skills.”

“Those who use computers heavily had better school grades than their peers who reported less computer use.”

This study assessed third graders in mathematics, reading, and language arts. Students also reported on their household media environments, including the number of working television sets, computers, VCRs, and video game players in the home. Students also reported the presence of a television set in the room they regularly slept in and whether they had access to and used a home computer.

Because self- and parent-reported child media use is subject to measurement error, each having its own strengths and weaknesses, we performed 2 sets of analyses. Each parent estimated, in hours and minutes, how much time his or her child spent on an average school day and an average weekend day watching regular television (broadcast, cable, or satellite), using a computer (not for homework), watching video tapes, playing video games, reading (not for school), and doing homework. Students reported the time they spent watching television, playing on a computer, watching movies or videos, playing video games, reading (not for school), and doing homework, reporting separately for before and after school.

Students’ academic performance in mathematics, reading, and language arts were assessed with the Stanford Achievement Test.

“Students reported an average of 3.3 television sets per household, with only 5% of students indicating just 1 home television set.”

“The surveys revealed that VCRs were ubiquitous, with 2% of students saying that no television sets in their homes were connected to VCRs.”

“90% reported that they had a video game player that used either a television set or handheld platform.”

71% said that they had a bedroom television set.

71% indicated that there was a home computer to which they had access.

97% boys reported video game ownership vs. 80% girls.

“Media environment variables were not significantly associated with the parents’ education, student’s ethnicity, or primary language spoken in the household.”

Children with a bedroom television set reported watching 12.8 hours per week; children without a bedroom television set reported watching 10.7 hours per week.

“Students with a bedroom television scored significantly lower on all the tests compared with their peers without bedroom television sets.” [Important]

“Consistently, those with a bedroom television but no home computer access had, on average, the lowest scores and those with home computer access but no bedroom television had the highest scores.” [Important]

“Regardless of whether we used the parents’ or students’ estimates, a bedroom television had a negative relationship with the predicted test scores.”

COMMENT BY AUTHORS

“This research shows that even after accounting for demographics and reported activities, third grade students’ academic achievement was significantly related to their household media environment; consistently, having a bedroom television was related to worse test performance whereas having home computer access was associated with better performance. The observed differences were substantial, with scores varying by 10 to 20 points on a normal equivalence-based scale.”

“Children with bedroom television sets have more trouble falling asleep and have decreased sleep duration. Such sleep disturbances, rather than viewing hours, might be impacting students’ academic performance.”

Studies indicate that children with poorer grades are more likely to watch violent content television.

These authors “recommend that parents not allow televisions in the children’s bedrooms or remove them if they are already present.”

“We know of no research suggesting that children benefit from having a bedroom television while other evidence shows that children who have bedroom televisions are at greater risk for being overweight and having trouble sleeping.”

“Our results add worse performance on standardized tests to the list of adverse risks associated with having a bedroom television.”

These authors note that this study focuses on academic achievement, but acknowledge that media also influences children physically, socially, and cognitively.

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