Saturday, September 6, 2008

TV and kids

I have written about this before, but since the Wall Street Journal covered it again today, I thought I'd highlight this finding on the impact of TV on kids [HT: Greg Mankiw]:

The economists then looked at results of a survey of 800 U.S. schools that administered tests to 346,662 sixth-grade, ninth-grade and 12th-grade students in 1965. Their finding: Adjusting for differences in household income, parents' educational background and other factors, children who lived in cities that gave them more exposure to television in early childhood performed better on the tests than those with less exposure.

The economists found that television was especially positive for children in households where English wasn't the primary language and parents' education level was lower. "We don't exactly know why that is, but a plausible interpretation is that the effect of television on cognitive development depends on what other kinds of activity television is substituting for," says Mr. Shapiro, 28.

The WSJ article goes on to document research on the impact of television on the independence of women (good) but on community social organisation (bad).