A new study suggests that teenagers who watch several hours of television a day perform worse at school and are less likely to graduate than students who watch less TV:
The 20-year study involving nearly 700 families in upstate New York, US, found that those watching more than three hours of TV a day were twice as likely not continue their education past high school. The researchers say their study is the first to show that attention problems linked to TV viewing could be the cause of academic failure, since they controlled for learning difficulties and behavioural problems at the start of the study.
But other experts say the link is unclear: teens with learning disorders might simply be more likely to watch many hours of TV because they find activities such as reading textbooks too challenging.
In the mid-1980s Jeffrey Johnson of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, US, and colleagues began interviewing 14-year olds from 678 families in the upper regions of the state about their television viewing habits. They also asked the teens’ parents whether the youngsters had any behavioural or academic difficulties.