Earlier today, I read a scientific article in the British newspaper The Daily Mail. The article in question states that one hour of TV/electronic devices can worsen your performance in GCSEs.
A single hour’s TV or internet use each night will worsen a pupil’s GCSE results, research suggests.
In fact, teenagers should not watch any TV at all if they want to do well, according to a leading academic.
For every daily hour of TV, internet or computer game use, students dropped 9.3 points overall across their GCSE subjects. That is the equivalent of two grades – for example, the difference between a B and a D.
Cambridge University researchers also found that physical activity – while not harming educational attainment – doesn’t improve it either.
The article sources a study led by someone named Dr Kirsten Corder, as told here:
The researchers, led by Dr Kirsten Corder, studied 845 pupils from different social classes in a variety of urban and rural areas across Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. Dr Corder said: ‘Television, computer games and internet use were all harmful to academic performance, but TV viewing was the most detrimental. We can cautiously infer that increased screen time may lead to poorer academic performance for GCSEs.
‘If teenagers or parents are concerned about GCSE results, one thing might be to look at the amount of TV viewing that they’re doing and maybe just try to be sensible about it.’
The article also seems to make a claim that came across as a bit exaggerated, stating that apparently not watching TV at all would be best.
Co-author Esther van Sluijs put it more bluntly: ‘Our results suggest if you don’t watch television you will achieve the best GCSE results to your best potential regardless of what other activities you do.’
The study was allegedly carried out using heart rate and movement sensors to measure activity levels.
Between 2005 and 2007, the scientists measured activity levels of the participants using heart-rate and movement sensors attached to their bodies. They also asked the pupils how much time they spent in front of TV or computer screens, doing homework, or reading for pleasure. GCSE performance was assessed at 16, by adding together all the points students obtained across different subjects.
The thing is, I've always been fairly skeptical about the science reports in the Daily Mail, thought his one warranted some further questioning. How would you, for example, go around this if the homework you were required to do was Internet-based? Wouldn't it be important what you watched on TV, be it a documentary?
So is any of this necessarily true?