Well so much for those turn-off-the-tv festivals of media snobbery. The New York Times reports that two University of Chicago economists find that TV is not bad for kids.
Most studies that find negative effects from television compare groups of children who watch television to those who do not, even though the economic situations of the two groups are in all likelihood very different, Mr. Gentzkow said. The new study, however, was based on what the authors call a “natural experiment” that resulted from the way television was introduced in the United States in the late 1940′s and early 1950′s, when some cities got TV service five years ahead of others.
Data from cities where preschoolers were exposed to the new technology, and data from cities where they were not, was correlated with test scores from about 300,000 students nationwide in 1965, as collected in the Coleman Report, a survey done under the Civil Rights Act. The study also looked at test scores from pre- and post-TV age groups within cities.
The result showed “very little difference and if anything, a slight positive advantage” in test scores for children who grew up watching TV early on, compared to those who did not, said Mr. Shapiro.
Media are good.