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New study refutes TV and video game use predicts attention problems and school performance

The devouring media in its various forms have always been linked to attention deficit in children. And as the media grow in variety, so is the number of children diagnosed with attention problems. However, a new study questioning any real pathology brought on by the media stimulus seems to suggest that blaming it all on the media hype can be off the mark.

Participated in by 603 children between the ages 10 to14 and their parent-guardians, the study published by Elsevier in the Journal of Psychiatric Research examined the nature of risk factors for attention problems and poor school performance. Outcomes were determined through grade point average (GPA) and parent- and child-reported attention problem behaviors. Media use was also captured, including favorite television shows and video games, and time spent engaging with either medium.

The authors found that television or video game viewing, whether based on total time of use or exposure to violence shows or games, are not risk factors for attention problems indicative of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and poor school performance. The results showed that attention problems are best predicted by factors such as anxiety, family environment, male gender, antisocial traits, as well as by delinquent peers and negative association with adults. Family income, it appears, best predicts GPA as capacity to provide more resources can enhance school performance.    
Study author Christopher Fergusonfrom the Department of Behavioral, Applied Sciences & Criminal Justice of Texas A&M International University, Laredo, Texas said that, “There can be little doubt that extreme amounts of media consumption can cause academic problems to the extent that they may eliminate time for studying or other necessary activities by simple action of the time consumed. However, little evidence suggests that media consumption can actually bring on psychopathology in the form of attention problems.”

In sum, the study stated that intervention and prevention efforts may be better spent on other risk factors.


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