November 27th, 2005

Too Much Television Slows Children's Reading

By Nina Goswami
Sunday Telegraph (UK)

Children under the age of three who are allowed to watch too much television have below-average reading abilities by the time they are six, a new study claims.

The research found children who averaged more than two hours of television a day as toddlers scored 10 per cent lower in reading comprehension and short-term memory tests.

The decade-long study, published in the journal Archives of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine, analysed the test results of 1,700 children under six years old. It found that on average children under three watched two hours and 12 minutes of television, and three to five-year-olds watched an average of three hours 18 minutes on a daily basis.

Frederick Zimmerman, the co-author of the study, said programmes which claim to be educational actually had no beneficial effect on toddlers. "We found that shows which target under threes, such as Teletubbies, only entertain and don’t educate."

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