Too Much TV and Computer Use By Children Cause Academic Blunt ─ Research

Jean Philbert Nsgengimana, former Minister of Youth and ICT demonstrates a computer program to a pupil during the Africa Code Week. Children’s exposure to the computer should be limited 

Children who watch television or use computers for many hours risk blunting their academic performance, a new research warns.

The research results published on 4th September 2020 indicate that children aged 8 to 9 years old who watch more than two hours of television daily or spend more than one hour a day on a computer drop in academic performance, after two years.

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), the Austrian based researchers noted that the effects of electronic media on physical and mental health have received much attention but this new research linked its use to academic performance.

The research results are out when children in Rwanda and in many countries across the world have been advised by the ministry of education to shift o online programs to avoid further spread of COVID-19.

The research results showed that heavy television use at 8 to 9 years old negatively affects reading and heavy computer usage by children causing a similar loss in numeracy(math).

According to the research, MCRI  researchers in Australia recruited 1,239 children from the Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study (CATS) whose academic performance was measured in Grade 3 and later in Grade 5(primary school) using the National Assessment Programme – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results.

Research results indicated that Grade 3(equivalent to primary four) students who watched more than two hours of TV a day or used a computer for more than one hour a day lowered performance by  12-points in reading and numeracy when they joined Grade 5 level (primary six)  compared with their peers who spent less time on TV and computers.

Research also indicated that watching more than two hours of TV a day in primary six/grade 5  was associated with 12-point lower in math and reading scores, and using a computer for more than one hour a day with a 14-point lower math result than their peers.

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