A short answer to your question can be found in a 1997 study done
by the University of Michigan. In an investigation of 3,500 kids
the study found a correlation between reading, television watching,
and academic test scores. For each hour of reading per week the
children scored .5 points higher. For each 5 hours of TV watching,
test scores were .5 points lower. A write-up of the study can be
found in the U. of Michigan online newspaper at:
The long answer to your question has already been written by Stanford
Communications professor James Steyer, in his book The Other Parent.
Steyer puts forth the horrifying information that children spend more
forty hours per week staring at TV and the Internet, listening to
radio and CDs, and playing computer games. Thats more than double
the 17 hours a week
they spend with their parents and more than the 30-some hours a week
they spend at school. Obviously, if children are spending this amount
time with media, they are not spending it reading, doing homework, or
in other active learning endeavors. It is a huge theft of time, which
is bound to
lessen the time and energy available for learning.
You do not ask for information on medias impact on values, but
according to Steyer, have become the other parent, imparting violent
and materialistic values that parents may not want their children to
Steyer puts the first obligation to deal with media saturation on the
He has 10 steps for parents to implement, including:
1. No TV or computer in the childs room
2. Limit hours of media use
3. Watch and listen with your kids, then tell them what you like and
dont like, and why.
4. Read to your child and share positive media experiences.
He also lists ten steps that government should take, including:
1. Break up the big media companies.
2. Establish a major public fund for quality kids media content.
3. Use the Canadian model to offer tax credits and subsidies
to producers of high-quality childrens programming.
4. Support PBS with adequate funding and leadership.
5. Promote educational uses of the Internet.
Steyer advocates that parent/citizens form advocacy groups and
lobby the media producers and government to make changes.
He is forming his own advocacy group, called Families Interested
in Responsible Media (FIRM). Its website is at :
My search phrase was "television hours test scores."
This is such an important issue, I hope you will take the time to read
Steyer's book, and if so inclined, to join his group. I appreciate
the chance to share our common concern. Before you rate this answer
please give me the chance to clarify or add anything I have left out.