As reported in the Age last week, there’s new research indicating that excessive watching of TV is associated with leaving school without qualifications, not getting a degree at university, and — oddly I thought — smoking. Particularly bad is a TV in kids’ bedrooms.
I had a TV in my bedroom when I was a teenager. Ostensibly it was to plug the Commodore 64 into, but it also meant I could watch The Professionals late at night before bed, though I also watched a lot of news and current affairs. (Decent stuff like the 7:30 Report, not crap like ACA.)
I’d have to assume that the exact programmes watched would have something to do with the outcome. Though I watch less and less these days, and given the amount of crap that goes to air, the odds would have to be in favour of the typical TV viewed by kids being of no intellectual value.
Interestingly, the article says that the study found: computers had the opposite effect, by actually improving children’s test scores. Even computer games can improve attention and visual skills. I reckon hand-eye co-ordination gets a boost too, though it was probably beyond the scope of the report. Non-gaming use of computers helping makes sense, as kids not only gain computer experience, but pick up reading skills and general knowledge.
All this just backs up what I’ve long thought. I won’t put a TV in the kids’ room, but a computer (in due course) is a possibility.