Study--limit TV during school week

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A new study released in medical journal Pediatrics shows that TV watching during the school week lowers school performance. The study was conducted by pediatricians Iman Sharif and James D. Sargent to test the effects of television, movie, and video game screen time and content on adolescents, a previously untested age group.

Of the 4,500 sudents who participated in the study, 50 percent of those who watched no TV during the week performed excellent in school. The study also showed that the odds of doing worse in school increased with the number of channels that were available to the children.

The doctors used three test variables to measure the effect of TV viewing on school performance: cable movie channel availability, parental television content restriction, and parental R-rated movie restriction. The frequency with which parents let their kids watch R-rated movies also contributed to poor school performance--the more frequent the movie watching, the worse the school performance.

The study asserts that in the past 20 years, the US has undergone a "mass media explosion." As a result, kids spend an average of 20 hours a week in front of the tube--this doesn't include weekends, which the study didn't factor in.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has long stated that it doesn't recommend television for children younger than two years of age and that older children should watch no more than one to two hours per day. The study recommends that parents of young adolescents limit not only the amount but also the content of their child's TV exposure.

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