Little Ones' Tech. Habits Found to Trump Reading
Toddlers and preschoolers are spending more than twice as much time watching television, using computers, or interacting with DVDs than reading or being read to by an adult, according to a new study of the electronic-media habits of youngsters ages 6 months to 6 years.
Commissioned by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and released last week, the study found that children in that age range use screen media for an average of about two hours a day, while they spend less than an hour a day reading or listening to someone read.
In addition, the researchers found that nearly half of children in that age group have three or more television sets in their homes, and more than a third have TVs in their bedrooms. Moreover, about 70 percent of 4- to 6-year-olds have used a computer.
When the federal government first began estimating Internet access in public schools in 1994, about 35 percent of those schools were connected. That percentage is now 99 percent, according to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics.
The study found other noticeable increases. For instance, the ratio of students per instructional computer with Internet access improved from 12.1-to-1 to 4.8-to-1 between 1998 and last year. Also, 23 percent of public schools with Internet access reported using wireless Internet connections in 2002.
A RAND Corp. study released last week found that a drug education program called Project Alert curbed the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana among South Dakota middle school students, even adolescents deemed at a higher risk of substance abuse.
The Project Alert curriculum is designed to modify the attitudes and behavior of 7th and 8th graders toward alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana. It targets those three substances, the report says, because they are the ones that middle school students are most likely to experiment with first.
The study involved 4,000 students from 55 middle schools in the state.
A school-based program for 3rd to 6th graders that aims to prevent drug and alcohol use can deter cigarette smoking and use of alcohol among graduates of the program, a study concludes.
The study, which involved 1,090 students from 20 randomly assigned schools, found that students who had taken part in Life Skills Training were less likely than a control group to have smoked cigarettes or consumed alcohol a year after their participation in the program. The results were published in the Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse.
Seventy-one percent of all public elementary and secondary schools reported at least one violent incident during the 1999-2000 school year, according to a federal survey.
Conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, the survey questioned 2,270 public school principals. It found the amount and severity of the violence to be higher in urban secondary schools with large enrollments than smaller nonurban schools. Lower student achievement, school disruptions, and higher community- crime levels also showed correlations to school violence.
The proportion of students victimized by crime in schools decreased from 1998 to 2001, a federal report says.
The study, released by the National Center for Education Statistics, found that over that period, the percentage of students reported as being victims of crime declined from 10 percent to 6 percent. That included decreases in theft and violent incidents. The proportion of students victimized by acts of bullying, however, increased from 5 percent to 8 percent from 1999 to 2001.
Vol. 23, Issue 10, Page 16