Home life TV

TV bad, computer good

As reported in the Age last week, there’s new research indicating that excessive watching of TV is associated with leaving school without qualifications, not getting a degree at university, and — oddly I thought — smoking. Particularly bad is a TV in kids’ bedrooms.

I had a TV in my bedroom when I was a teenager. Ostensibly it was to plug the Commodore 64 into, but it also meant I could watch The Professionals late at night before bed, though I also watched a lot of news and current affairs. (Decent stuff like the 7:30 Report, not crap like ACA.)

I’d have to assume that the exact programmes watched would have something to do with the outcome. Though I watch less and less these days, and given the amount of crap that goes to air, the odds would have to be in favour of the typical TV viewed by kids being of no intellectual value.

Interestingly, the article says that the study found: computers had the opposite effect, by actually improving children’s test scores. Even computer games can improve attention and visual skills. I reckon hand-eye co-ordination gets a boost too, though it was probably beyond the scope of the report. Non-gaming use of computers helping makes sense, as kids not only gain computer experience, but pick up reading skills and general knowledge.

All this just backs up what I’ve long thought. I won’t put a TV in the kids’ room, but a computer (in due course) is a possibility.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

3 replies on “TV bad, computer good”

The key question is not so much ‘computer or no computer’ but ‘internet or no internet’?

I remember seeing a survey about services most in demand if homes were to get cable. In the higher socio-economic areas it was broadband internet, whereas in the lower socio-economic areas it was pay TV.

Although in high-income mining towns like Kalgoorlie, every house (including run-down asbestos shacks) has a Pay TV dish.

I go along with Sun’s slogan: “The network is the computer”. In this day and age, a computer that’s not on the Net is almost pointless. It does raise the issue of kids with unchecked Net access, though, which can be a concern for some parents.

Remembering back to when I was 12, 14, 16, from my present day perspective, I would never allow children anything else but extremely restricted access to the net. I love reading books, but had I a tv in my room at a young age, I doubt I would have become a ‘reader’ and hence much less educated. But of course, if your children are well brought up, perhaps they can cope with what is on the net. I guess you have to know them and be there.

Odd about the smoking thing Daniel? Surely it means that tv/movie people on the screen and smoking works from an advertising perspective.

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