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New study says TV better than childcare...

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#1 EBKatie

Posted 19 April 2012 - 11:48 AM

Have a read and tell us what you think.


#2 steppy

Posted 19 April 2012 - 11:51 AM

I'm interested in this bit:

In investigating childhood behaviour, the study found how children spent their time made little difference, and poor behaviour was linked most strongly to a lack of discipline from mothers.

#3 libbylu

Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:04 PM

It is interesting that they didn't find a difference between kids who spent time watching TV when compared to after school care or playing with peers in the domain of cognitive development.  I bet there might be a difference in other domains such as health and fitness or social skills though between kids who spent a lot more time doing one than the other.

And spending time engaging with parents in educational activities, or probably just conversation, was better than TV.  

As always, it's about balance isn't it?

#4 Bob-the-skull

Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:18 PM

hmmm unfortunately the tv isn't a legal babysitter and would be classed as neglect Tounge1.gif

and what about DS1 who watches tv at after school care? best of both worlds?

I always find these studies amusing...

#5 Jane Jetson

Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:30 PM

Parental discipline from mothers only, huh?

#6 lozoodle

Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:30 PM

Oh awesome, so I can leave them at home in front of the TV instead of paying daycare while I work? Tounge1.gif

#7 Canberra Chick

Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:42 PM

This really annoyed me! Most people when they hear 'childcare' will think of care for the under 5s. This study is about school aged children! So it's a (deliberately?) misleading headline.

I know that I changed my hours so DS didn't do ASC, as I think kids need down time after school to recharge their batteries.  DS gets 45 minutes of vegging in front of the box and then does piano and plays outside and chats with me.

#8 Expelliarmus

Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:06 PM

QUOTE (gingermeg @ 19/04/2012, 01:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Parental discipline from mothers only, huh?

No. The study clearly compared the male and female parents who participated in the study.

In investigating childhood behaviour, the study found how children spent their time made little difference, and poor behaviour was linked most strongly to a lack of discipline from mothers.

A child's demeanour, confidence and ability to get on with others was ''strongly influenced by parenting style, particularly a mother's warmth and effective discipline,'' the study said.

Why is it so wrong to talk about how gender affects parenting? It's part of the study. You find out a lot of incidental stuff when doing a study.

For example:
The higher the mother's level of education the more likely she was to engage her children in educational pastimes and social activities.

Likely all that would have happened is that when filling out the survey form the parents would have ticked their highest level of education and when the results were run through the analysis it would have found that correlation.

What I find missing from reports such as these are the original hypothesis. What question were they actually asking? A lot of the report is probably findings that came out of a very different question.

Personally I find the headline completely misleading.

Dr Fiorini said that the more ''surprising'' part of his study was that time spent using media such as TV and computers ''does not seem necessarily detrimental to development. For example, for reading skills, it is at least as productive as time in before/after-school care.''

It does not say TV is better it says it is 'at least as productive' meaning it's not any worse than having them in ASC. What it does not say is that by watching TV children's cognitive ability improves over childcare - what the research actually found is that spending time doing things with parents is better for children's cognition than either TV OR ASC.

It's a ridiculous point in a way. It's not like you can say "Well, my kids are better off not in ASC, they should just be at home with me on the couch watching the box, it's better for them" because if your kids are in ASC having them home alone on the couch in front of the TV isn't a viable option!

What they are basically saying is that kids in ASC are no better off than kids who sit in front of the TV when they get home and that to affect kids' cognitive ability *parents* need to interact with them - that peer interaction after school does not replace that quality time with parents.

#9 Liv_DrSperm_sh

Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:11 PM

saawweeetttt....I just saved myself $800 a week in formal childcare!

#10 Bob-the-skull

Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:12 PM

QUOTE (Canberra chick @ 19/04/2012, 12:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This really annoyed me! Most people when they hear 'childcare' will think of care for the under 5s. This study is about school aged children! So it's a (deliberately?) misleading headline.

I know that I changed my hours so DS didn't do ASC, as I think kids need down time after school to recharge their batteries.  DS gets 45 minutes of vegging in front of the box and then does piano and plays outside and chats with me.

i wish i could change my hours... i think thats why i am glad our ohsc allows the kids to watch tv etc to wind down biggrin.gif

#11 lizzzard

Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:36 PM

Yes, yet again (ala alot of popular research), I'm not sure this is that insightful really: it's a bit like saying "kids who played soccer every day were better at playing soccer than kids who played cricket every day".

If I wanted my child to *only* develop cognitive skills, I'd engage them in cognitive pursuits every waking minute. However I don't - I'd also like them to focus on their physical, social, emotional, and cultural development as well, and things like sport, playing with friends, vegging out in front of the TV etc are all part of developing other spheres of 'intelligence'.

#12 qak

Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:05 PM

I am not clear how economists are qualified to draw these kind of conclusions about children & their cognitive development?

#13 Overtherainbow

Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:55 PM

I think the quality of child care would also have to come into this.

I love our school's OSHC programme.  Our children help prepare the afternoon tea together, go on clean up/dishes duty, participate in organised sports, do their homework with a CC worker sitting with them and have a great run around.

The carers know the children well and take an active interest in their lives.  I  often go past before pick up and see our children engaged in conversation with these ladies.

My chn are in care because the other option is tv/computer/quiet play, while I finish my day and I don't feel it's fair on the kids to be ignored.  

I have previously worked in a range of childcares and some are pathetic and the children would deifinitely be better off infront of a tv.  Some parents are also pathetic and children would gain more from being put in a CC.  Some tv shows are also detrimental.  There are a lot of variations in this theory.

#14 Hausfrau

Posted 19 April 2012 - 03:28 PM

It doesn't surprise me at all.

What they are basically saying is that kids in ASC are no better off than kids who sit in front of the TV when they get home and that to affect kids' cognitive ability *parents* need to interact with them - that peer interaction after school does not replace that quality time with parents.
I totally agree with this. When the kids bum around watching TV, they aren't just watching TV, we are interacting, discussing and educating.

Over these holidays we have been having a Doctor Who marathon. In the last week we have discussed the Titanic, the bombing of London, Shakespeare, Van Gough, mental illness and suicide. Now, I realise that doctor who isn't the most educational show but even a show like that provides the prompts to discuss and research things that might not have come up at this time.

Watching TV alone wouldn't have provided them the same opportunity and I seriously doubt that ASC would have either.
It is the same as when we watch toddler shows for our 2 year old. I ask the older kids to predict what is going to happen, I explain why the character may feel the way they do, we think different ways they could solve the problem etc. Watching TV alone may provide that, which is the point of the show, but I help them by backing it up with real life situations.  

Even when we watch TV we have a constant dialogue and they have the opportunity to learn.

#15 BetteBoop

Posted 19 April 2012 - 03:29 PM

QUOTE (CherryAmes @ 19/04/2012, 01:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I agree that the headline doesn't seem to reflect the study outcomes.

You said it far more nicely than I did.

The headline is sensationalist and misleading. But hey, it got the intended reaction so more fool me.

#16 peetapeter

Posted 20 April 2012 - 04:21 PM

How about internet?  huh.gif

#17 CallMeFeral

Posted 20 April 2012 - 04:43 PM

I can't quite figure out why they think after school care SHOULD be better for reading skills than tv - it's after school CARE, not SCHOOL - so what is surprising? Am I missing something?

#18 JolyV

Posted 11 June 2012 - 05:41 AM

QUOTE (Livsh @ 19/04/2012, 01:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
saawweeetttt....I just saved myself $800 a week in formal childcare!

to buy a bigger TV biggrin.gif

#19 BlondieUK

Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:18 AM

howdo - that's a really fantastic post original.gif

The other factor that I always find interesting about these kinds of children/tv studies is that they do not take into account the kinds of programs that children are watching.

For example, my two together (6 and 3) are at an age where they interact a lot with each other, if they are watching the right kind of program. So, if they are watching Play School or the Wiggles, then they are acting things out, dancing around, talking/responding to the presenters, and developing language skills in an imitative/interactive way. However, if they are watching other kinds of shows, they are not interacting but passively watching. It makes a huge difference.

Also, certain shows stimulate children in not so obvious ways. DS2 acts out, imitates and adapts Thomas the Tank Engine episodes to suit the toys he has to hand. It's really good imaginative play that has a basis in the tv he has watched. Other shows don't grab his interest in the same way. DS1 react well to shows that have a very strong behavioural message - that explicitly teach children how to interact with the world around them.

Not all tv for children is equal.

#20 LambChop

Posted 26 August 2012 - 09:29 AM

howdo - that's a really fantastic post

Yeah but, howdo sits in the "very intelligent conscious parenting Mum" though, so it's no surprise that tv watching would be enhanced to be educational! (as in a role model howdo, I'm complimenting you... just to be clear!)

I always wonder with these sorts of studies how they pick their control group, I mean, without knowing the original question its hard to judge isn't it.  And how they measured thing, for example

The offspring of more educated mothers also spent an average 1.6 hours less per week using media.
  measured by self reporting or by constant observation ?  (I can just imagine if it was parents reporting time there could be a potential under-report, especially given this is something we tend to put in the 'not so good parenting' camp of activities)

And finally, I have a real problem with the expectation of linear child development, that children must at all times during the day be engaged in purely developmentally productive activities.  Where is the time where they get to practise self direction, self management, dreaming, relaxation etc.  Don't see any studies that are looking at what is needed for overall mental health...

#21 Bam1

Posted 16 August 2013 - 06:12 PM

Childcare will always be better, as I have to be in the house if they are watching TV!

I think the headline is very misrepresentative of the actual article.

Edited by Bam1, 16 August 2013 - 06:13 PM.

#22 lucky 2

Posted 17 August 2013 - 10:51 AM

I thought it was an interesting article but after reading it I didn't draw the conclusion that TV was better than childcare. Not at all.
When dd goes to ASC she would not be better for being home in front of the TV, the best of both worlds would be for me to work in the field I was educated to work in, for her to be in safe ASC care where they do a range of activities, watching a movie is one of them at times, along with cooking, craft , free play etc.
And hopefully when we are home together we do the other things that are thought to value add to cognitive development, ie encouraging/supporting with homework, helping in the kitchen or some tidying up, having time with both parents (chilling, reading, tv) and use of media (TV, games/mathletics).
It was good for me to read that lenient or harsh discipline had the lower behavioural outcomes, I try to walk this medium ground.
I don't find it easy and I'm sure I go into lenient and harsh in times of stress (mine) and then hopefully settle back into the more effective methods.

#23 BetteBoop

Posted 17 August 2013 - 10:56 AM

View Poststeppy, on 19 April 2012 - 11:51 AM, said:

poor behaviour was linked most strongly to a lack of discipline from mothers.

Mums cop it yet again. Funny how fathers are never responsible for poor behaviour.

#24 lucky 2

Posted 17 August 2013 - 11:02 AM

If the lenient discipline comes from indifference then I could imagine it leads to poorer behaviour outcomes, if it comes from mother, father or worse, both.
Mothers are still the most likely to be primary carers, doesn't it stand to reason that their actions (or lack of action) have the greatest influence on outcomes?
It sucks though, ie the attitude that it is "all the mothers fault" but I don't buy into that and I don't think the study does either.
If the researchers find a link they are going to report it, aren't they?

#25 treetree

Posted 17 August 2013 - 11:57 AM


Mums cop it yet again. Funny how fathers are never responsible for poor behaviour.
Try to look at it objectively. The study has shown that in our current society and time, the lack of discipline from mothers has an impact on children's behaviour. This is simply something the study found, not a judgement in any way.

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