Tuesday, July 05, 2005

bad tv habits may be bad for you

Who would allow a third-grader to have a TV in his/her bedroom?

It bothers me when research is cited without linking to the actual published paper. But this is interesting to me anyway since TV is a subject that comes up a lot even though David's only interest so far is the buttons.
A new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University indicates that third-graders with televisions in their bedrooms perform significantly more poorly on standardized tests than their peers without.
After reading Freakonomics I am obligated to note that the researchers don't have enough data to show causality:
The researchers speculate that the link may have more to do with other factors, such as the fact that children with bedroom televisions have been shown to sleep less than their peers, or that the minority of parents who allow a home computer but prohibit a bedroom television may be more engaged in their child's education.
Lastly, I am also obligated to point out my oposition to defining a child's success in life based on standardized tests. Freakonomics spends a lot of time debunking popular child-rearing myths based on standardized test results. While it is good to look at the stats they offer to get a clearer picture of how parenting may or may not work, it has to be done with the understanding that my primary concern as a parent is not measured by these tests. Case in point--statistical analysis shows that reading to your child does not positively affect standardized test scores, but I am confident that this interaction does have other positive benefits not directly connected to education.

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