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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
In "Big World Small Screen: The Role of TV in American Society" (University
of Nebraska Press, 1992) it is stated:
 
"Large scale correlational studies consistently show a small relation between
heavy television viewing and poor school achievement.  In a meta-analysis of
2.3 studies involving thousands of children, the curvilinear pattern emerge.
 Achievement improved with increased television viewing up to about 10 hours
a week.  For children who watched more than 10 hours a week. achievement
declined as viewing time increased (Williams, Haertel, Walberg, & Haertel,
1982).
 
"Although children from low social-class homes watch more television and
perform less well in school than those from middle class homes, the
association between viewing and achievement holds true even within social
classes.  However, intelligence does not appear to account for much of the
negative relation between viewing and school achievement.  For children of
equivalent intelligence, there is little or no association between television
viewing and most types of school achievement or cognitive functioning."
 
It further states:
 
"In summary, television as a medium does not have any clear effect on
children's school achievement or on academic skill.  Children who spend a
great deal of time viewing television do poorly in school, but the reasons
seems to lie in individual differences in motivation, intelligence, or family
enviornments.  Children who watch a moderate amount of television perform
better in school than nonviewers, perhaps because they seek a variety of
sources of information and entertainments or because they use the medium at
its best rather than its worst."
 
Of course it is up to the parents to spark the child's imagination through
various mediums and create the desire to acquire knowledge.   Of equal
importance; however, is to ensure we are not simply policing television
viewing for the child.  It is imperative that we *teach* the child to
practice selective viewing, rather than practice selective viewing *for* the
child.  To teach a child to "use the medium at its best" will be far more
effective, with favorable results into the long term, than to keep the
channel selector out of their reach.
 
D.A. Phillips