Educational TV has Positive Effects on Toddlers and Preschoolers

Nov 06, 2006, 00:00 ET from Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center

    SEATTLE, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study suggests that educational
 television programs are successful in broadening young children's
 knowledge, affecting their racial attitudes and increasing their
 imaginations, according to a study published today in the November issue of
 Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
     Researchers Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPH, Michelle M. Garrison, PhD,
 and Rupin R. Thakkar, MD, of the Child Health Institute, conducted a
 systematic literature search and identified a total of 376 articles dealing
 with children and television. Of these, 12 met the criteria of being a
 controlled trial. The 12 studies were conducted between 1973 and 2000 and
 focused specifically on television content viewed by children under age 6
 and its impact on learning, racial preference, aggression, pro-social
 behavior, self-regulation and imagination. None of these studies looked at
 infant television viewing or examined the content of videos designed for
 children.
     "The bottom line is that content is key -- high-quality educational
 programming can have a positive effect on children under age 6," said Dr.
 Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital and Regional
 Medical Center in Seattle. "However, much more research is needed. It was
 disappointing that there are so few rigorous controlled trials of something
 that is so important and so prevalent."
     The research found that there is evidence to suggest that educational
 television programs, such as Sesame Street and Mister Rogers, can aid in
 the acquisition of general knowledge plus improve overall cognitive
 knowledge among young children. There is also evidence in the literature
 that children's imaginative play can be positively affected by television
 content. Furthermore, there is evidence that educational television
 programming that emphasizes diversity can improve children's racial
 attitudes.
     On the negative side, there is evidence that television viewing can
 increase a child's display of aggression. Children who watch aggressive
 programs and cartoons with lots of violence can be more likely to engage in
 aggressive behavior than those that do not.
     "This is a good start, but more research is needed on the impact of
 television viewing and content on infants and young children. Especially as
 the infant video and cable television markets are exploding, we should be
 carefully monitoring whether or not these products meet their claims to
 improve a child's intelligence, language acquisition and pro-social
 behaviors," said Christakis. "At this point, we should continue to be
 cautious about the amount and type of television we let our kids watch."
     The study's researchers also stress the importance of AAP
 recommendations that parents avoid letting their children under age 2 watch
 television and that parents exert caution -- such as setting limits on TV
 viewing, helping children develop media literacy skills to questions,
 analyze and evaluate TV messages, and taking an active role in their
 children's TV viewing -- for children over age 2.
     Researchers were Dimitri Christakis, MD, MPH, director, Child Health
 Institute, University of Washington, Children's Hospital and Regional
 Medical Center, and the author of The Elephant in the Living Room: Make
 Television Work for your Kids; Michelle M. Garrison, PhD; and Rupin R.
 Thakkar, MD, Child Health Institute, University of Washington.
     The study be viewed at
 http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/118/5/2025
     About Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Seattle, Wash.
     Consistently ranked as one of the best children's hospitals in the
 country by U.S. News & World Report and Child magazines, Children's serves
 as the pediatric referral center for Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.
 Children's delivers superior patient care, advances new discoveries and
 treatments in pediatric research, and serves as a primary teaching,
 clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the
 University of Washington School of Medicine. For more information about
 Children's, visit www.seattlechildrens.org.
     Media Contact:
     Katharine Fitzgerald
     Media Relations
     Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center
     Phone: (206) 987-5245  Pager: (206) 469-2004
     katharine.fitzgerald@seattlechildrens.org
 
 

SOURCE Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center
    SEATTLE, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study suggests that educational
 television programs are successful in broadening young children's
 knowledge, affecting their racial attitudes and increasing their
 imaginations, according to a study published today in the November issue of
 Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
     Researchers Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPH, Michelle M. Garrison, PhD,
 and Rupin R. Thakkar, MD, of the Child Health Institute, conducted a
 systematic literature search and identified a total of 376 articles dealing
 with children and television. Of these, 12 met the criteria of being a
 controlled trial. The 12 studies were conducted between 1973 and 2000 and
 focused specifically on television content viewed by children under age 6
 and its impact on learning, racial preference, aggression, pro-social
 behavior, self-regulation and imagination. None of these studies looked at
 infant television viewing or examined the content of videos designed for
 children.
     "The bottom line is that content is key -- high-quality educational
 programming can have a positive effect on children under age 6," said Dr.
 Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital and Regional
 Medical Center in Seattle. "However, much more research is needed. It was
 disappointing that there are so few rigorous controlled trials of something
 that is so important and so prevalent."
     The research found that there is evidence to suggest that educational
 television programs, such as Sesame Street and Mister Rogers, can aid in
 the acquisition of general knowledge plus improve overall cognitive
 knowledge among young children. There is also evidence in the literature
 that children's imaginative play can be positively affected by television
 content. Furthermore, there is evidence that educational television
 programming that emphasizes diversity can improve children's racial
 attitudes.
     On the negative side, there is evidence that television viewing can
 increase a child's display of aggression. Children who watch aggressive
 programs and cartoons with lots of violence can be more likely to engage in
 aggressive behavior than those that do not.
     "This is a good start, but more research is needed on the impact of
 television viewing and content on infants and young children. Especially as
 the infant video and cable television markets are exploding, we should be
 carefully monitoring whether or not these products meet their claims to
 improve a child's intelligence, language acquisition and pro-social
 behaviors," said Christakis. "At this point, we should continue to be
 cautious about the amount and type of television we let our kids watch."
     The study's researchers also stress the importance of AAP
 recommendations that parents avoid letting their children under age 2 watch
 television and that parents exert caution -- such as setting limits on TV
 viewing, helping children develop media literacy skills to questions,
 analyze and evaluate TV messages, and taking an active role in their
 children's TV viewing -- for children over age 2.
     Researchers were Dimitri Christakis, MD, MPH, director, Child Health
 Institute, University of Washington, Children's Hospital and Regional
 Medical Center, and the author of The Elephant in the Living Room: Make
 Television Work for your Kids; Michelle M. Garrison, PhD; and Rupin R.
 Thakkar, MD, Child Health Institute, University of Washington.
     The study be viewed at
 http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/118/5/2025
     About Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Seattle, Wash.
     Consistently ranked as one of the best children's hospitals in the
 country by U.S. News & World Report and Child magazines, Children's serves
 as the pediatric referral center for Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.
 Children's delivers superior patient care, advances new discoveries and
 treatments in pediatric research, and serves as a primary teaching,
 clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the
 University of Washington School of Medicine. For more information about
 Children's, visit www.seattlechildrens.org.
     Media Contact:
     Katharine Fitzgerald
     Media Relations
     Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center
     Phone: (206) 987-5245  Pager: (206) 469-2004
     katharine.fitzgerald@seattlechildrens.org
 
 SOURCE Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center