Too Much TV Linked to Decreased School Readiness, Particularly in Low-Income Children The amount of time kindergartners spend watching TV may be related to their school readiness, with the strongest link found in children from families with less economic means, new research suggests. However, the study—published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics—did not find such a link between TV time ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   May 01, 2017
Too Much TV Linked to Decreased School Readiness, Particularly in Low-Income Children
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Development / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   May 01, 2017
Too Much TV Linked to Decreased School Readiness, Particularly in Low-Income Children
The ASHA Leader, May 2017, Vol. 22, 13. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB2.22052017.13
The ASHA Leader, May 2017, Vol. 22, 13. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB2.22052017.13
The amount of time kindergartners spend watching TV may be related to their school readiness, with the strongest link found in children from families with less economic means, new research suggests.
However, the study—published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics—did not find such a link between TV time and school readiness in children from affluent homes. Study authors say this could reflect differing content and context of TV viewing (children from affluent homes may watch more educational programming or have more opportunities to watch and discuss TV with parents, who may have more time and resources), though the research did not investigate these factors.
“Our results suggest that the circumstances that surround child screen time can influence its detrimental effects on learning outcomes,” says study co-author Caroline Fitzpatrick of Canada’s Université Sainte-Anne and Concordia University. Andrew Ribner, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Applied Psychology at New York University, led the research.

“Our results suggest that the circumstances that surround child screen time can influence its detrimental effects on learning outcomes.”

Ribner and his team analyzed data from 807 kindergartners, whose parents reported family income and the number of hours their children watch TV daily. (Other screens, such as video games, tablets and smartphones, were not included in the study.) Children were tested in math, executive function and letter/word knowledge.
The association between number of TV hours and drops in school readiness was strongest when children watched more than two hours every day (more than the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation of no more than one hour a day for children 2 to 5). The results were most drastic in children from low-income families, though the link was also present in children from middle-income families.
Poorer math skills and executive function in particular were linked to longer hours of TV watching, with no link found with word/letter knowledge.
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May 2017
Volume 22, Issue 5