04 October 2006

TV, Movies, Video Games and School Performance

Do you remember the times when your Mom will tell you to cut on your TV watching/playing video games and do your homework and study so you can better grades in school?

During my time, my greatest temptations were Voltes V, Duke Nukem, Doom, Lemmings, and of course, my weekly supply of Marvel and DC comics. They were enough to keep me awake all night.

We know our mothers were right in keeping us away from said enchantments, but there was never a formal study done to document if, indeed, there was a link between poor school grades and more time spent watching movies, TV, and playing video games.

Today --- I can already hear the groans of today's kids --- there is now proof that our mothers have been correct all along.

In a study published in the current issue of Pediatrics, researchers concluded that "both content exposure and screen time had independent detrimental associations with school performance." More than 4,500 middle-school students (grades 5-8) from the northeastern part of the US participated in the study.

The study also found that the degree of below-average school performance increased when students watched TV for more than 3 hours on weekdays. The presence of more TV cable channels and watching more shows with R-rated content also contributed to the dipping of school grades. More details on the study results here.

The authors emphasized and singled out "exposure to adult content" as having "the strongest and most consistent negative impact" on school performance.

FOR ALL THE KIDS OUT THERE --- Sure, it was a bummer then when you were stopped in the middle of a crucial level of a video game. But as a friendly advice, let me tell you that setting your goals and priorities matter. After you graduate and get a stable job, you can watch all those TV shows and movies over and over again. So, don't fret too much. Study well now, enjoy your life later.

These days, I still play PSP (Tekken's Dark Resurrection and Half-Life2: Episode 1 are my current faves) and read my comics when I have time. These things are always there. The opportunity to excel in school, however, won't be there forever. Use your time wisely while you can.

9 reactions:

TinTin said...

My question always is: what ELSE is going on in the home that contributes to them watching so many hours of TV and maybe the TV watching is a symptom rather than the cause of the poor grades.

ipanema said...

Very wise advice Dr. Emer. :) I have seen young boys (and even their dads!) who went gaga over CS (counter strike) and became literally 'addicts'. Students often neglect their studies and social life hooked up with gaming!

Yes, all these can wait. In the meantime, bury yourselves in your studies.

Dr. Emer said...

Hello, TinTin. Answer to your question is NOTHING. Who and what else is at home? No one and nothing. When kids are left alone, it's only the TV and the video game console that can keep them company and prevent their boredom from evolving.

bugsybee said...

"Later, ma" ... how many mothers hear (and have heard) these too often? (Mea culpa.) I realized how harmful TV is only when I started teaching and saw its negative effects on some of my students. In the later years of my teaching, my problem was compounded by gaming addicts. Unfortunately, majority of us seem to be TV addicts. Have you noticed that no matter how small a house is, there's a TV antenna on its roof?

Dr. Emer said...

TV is the opium of the masses, bugsybee.

Sidney said...

Wow! You play with the PSP? Didn't expected this!

Jules said...

"Voltes V, Duke Nukem, Doom, Lemmings" wow! you played them Dr. Emer? I remembered playing Duke Nukem on VGA sa lumang computer and aliw na ko dun. Lemmings! One of the best games. I love it when I kill them all especially blow up a crater where they all collect and detonate one of them sa loob! hahaha...

I think it would be better if parents would cut down tv and let the children read. My sister's friend control her kid's tv so lahat educational and only for an hour a day. She buys them educational toys and books. the result: her children are well adjusted, behave and very creative. they have learned to find their own ways of amusement by writing stories, impromptu skits and doing art. Parang promil kid ang lumabas.

Dr. Emer said...

Sidney and Jules: Yes, I definitely play video games when I have time. If asked to name what's the best video game of all time, my single answer will be the Lemmings. They have a re-issue version for PSP released last March in Japan. My favorite character is the Bomber, because he always saves the day and helps you advance to another level. Sidney, you got to try play the Lemmings!

Sassafras said...

This reminds me of my pamangkin, who is a computer games addict to the point of being antisocial, preferring the computer screen to human conversation and outdoor activities.

I wonder what the effect of tv is on the preschoolers.