Heavy computer and TV use impacts children’s academic outcomes

Grade 3 pupils who see more than 2 hours of TV per day or invest more than 1 hour a day on a computer experience a decline in academic outcomes two years later, a new study has found.

Found heavy TV usage at 8 to 9 years old impacted on reading, equivalent to a reduction of four months in learning by 10 to 11 years and heavy computer use called a similar loss in numeracy.

MCRI Dr. Lisa Mundy said the effects of digital media on Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study (CATS) whose academic performance was measured in Grade 3 and afterwards in Grade 5 using the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) outcomes.

The research found Grade 3 students who watched more than two hours Of TV a day or used a computer for at least one hour per day called a 12-point diminished performance in reading and numeracy at Grade 5 in comparison to their peers who consumed less.

Additionally, it found watching more than two hours of TV a day in Grade 5 was associated with 12-point reduced numeracy and reading scores, and using a computer for at least 1 hour per day with a 14-point lower numeracy effect than their peers.

There was no evidence of short or long-term links between videogaming and academic performance.

A quarter played with more than one hour of videogames each day in Grade 3, which increased to nearly a third in Grade 5.

Dr. Mundy said electronic media usage had become the most popular leisure-time activity for children but could impact primary school academic performance by reducing physical activity, sleep or time spent on homework and had the potential to diminish concentration.

“The mid-primary college years have been a time when academic difficulties Are often first evident and predictive of lower academic performance and college dropout afterwards,” she explained.

“The mid-primary school years are a time when academic difficulties are often first evident and predictive of lower academic performance and school dropout later,” she said.

MCRI Professor George Patton said the findings carried consequences For parents, teachers and clinicians to think about the form and timing of TV and monitor exposure in developing media programs for kids.

Professor Patton stated the data was timely given that the move to remote learning because of COVID-19 and raised important issues around the best method for students to transition back to classrooms. Learning has never been more significant given the impacts of the pandemic on children’s use of time,” he said. “It underlines the importance of children moving safely back into classrooms and face-to-face learning with their teachers.

“Minimising the risks from the spread of COVID-19 as well as re-engaging with students will undoubtedly be a challenge for all schools. At the same time as maintaining social distancing, changing timetables and establishing new hygiene routines, teachers will need to facilitate each student’s re-engagement with classmates and learning.”

Related Journal Article: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0237908


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