Azara Blog: Television correlated with bad behaviour

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Date published: 2007/10/01

The BBC says:

Toddlers who watch too much television are more likely to suffer later behavioural problems - but the damage can be reversed, say researchers.

The Johns Hopkins University experts found that under-fives who watched over two hours a day increased their risk.

However, young children who watched too much, but cut back by five years old, removed the risk, the study in the journal Pediatrics suggested.
The study, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, analysed data for 2,700 children, asking their parents about viewing habits and behaviour at two and five years old.

One in five parents reported that their children watched two hours or more of television daily at both two and five.

This "sustained" exposure was linked to behavioural problems, while parents of children who had watched little television at two, and more than two hours at five were more likely to report problems with social skill development.

Having a television in the child's bedroom at five years old was linked to behavioural problems, poor social skills and also poor sleep.

However, children who watched more than two hours a day at two years old, but who had reduced their exposure by five, showed no increased risk of any of these problems.

Dr Cynthia Minkowitz, who led the study, said: "It is vital for clinicians to emphasise the importance of reducing television viewing in early childhood among those children with early use."

Another classic confusion between correlation and causation. Of course the chattering classes who run the world believe that television is evil, so the correlation is easily palmed off to gullible audiences (like BBC reporters) as a causation since it fits the predominant world view so conveniently. The only way to do this study properly is to randomly choose children to watch differing amounts of television and see what happens. Needless to say, this kind of study is never done. And since the researchers obviously do not like television, you have to wonder if they let their prejudices bias their analysis, and so perhaps even the correlations are not that real.

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