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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
D.A. Phillips wrote:
 
 
>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.
>
>
British/Swedish sociologist Keith Roe did the exact same thing in his
dissertation, "Mass Media and Adolescent Schoo ling" Almkvist & Wiksell 1983).
The big difference is, he turns the caosal correlation upside down. That is, the
statistical correlations were stronger in the opposite direction (bad school
achievements makes kids watch more "bad" TV) than in the "traditional" direction
(TV consumption makes kids stupid and drop out of school). This was interpreted
in terms of cultural resistance strategies: when you cant function in a specific
social context (as school), as a means of identity formation, you seek the
opposite of that social and cultural context. You become paret of a
counter-culture. Teachers usually doesn't approve of violent TV programming -
perfect for  cultural resistance. The same goes for heavy metal music.
 
When it comes to the connection between TV and real-life violence I'm having
enough to do with the current Swedish moral panic of TV & video violence. For
good reviews of the state of the media effects research, check out:
 
Freedman, Jonathan, L (1984) Effects of Television Violence on Aggressiveness.
In PSYCHOLOGICAL BULLETIN Vol 96 No 2 p 227-246
 
Howitt, Dennis & Cumberbatch, Guy (1975) MASS MEDIA VIOLENCE AND SOCIETY.
London: Elek Science Ltd.
 
Cumberbatch, Guy & Howitt, Dennis (1989) A MEASURE OF UNCERTAINTY. THE EFFECS OF
THE MASS MEDIA. London: John Libbey.
 
Although, the latest of these are almost six years old, nothing has change when
it comes to later research. Loads of researchers claim they have found
"evidence" that violent media causes real-life violence. None, I repeat, none
has ever been methodologically convincing.
 
Gotta go.
 
Cheers,
 
Ulf
Ulf Dalquist                Phone:  +46 46 104266
Dept. of Sociology          Fax:    +46 46 104794
Box 114 221 00 Lund SWEDEN  E-mail: [log in to unmask]