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Early Television Exposure is related to Executive Functioning and Comprehension in Preschoolers Rachel Barr, Beverly Good, Alexis Lauricella, Nancy Miller,

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Presentation on theme: "Early Television Exposure is related to Executive Functioning and Comprehension in Preschoolers Rachel Barr, Beverly Good, Alexis Lauricella, Nancy Miller,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Early Television Exposure is related to Executive Functioning and Comprehension in Preschoolers Rachel Barr, Beverly Good, Alexis Lauricella, Nancy Miller, Kim Nyugen, Gabrielle Strouse, Lorena Valencia, Elizabeth Zack & Sandra Calvert Georgetown University Method Participants. 48 (19 boys, 28 girls) 4-year-olds who had participated as infants. Families were mainly Caucasian, had college-educated parents & had middle to high incomes. Infant television exposure was measured using a 24-hr media diary in which parents of 12- to 18-month-olds reported television use in the household, including the amount, the content, and who was viewing. A very special thank you to all the families who made this research possible and to members of the Georgetown Early Learning Project for help in data collection and coding. Support for this research was provided by the Georgetown University Graduate School Pilot Grant and Stuart Family Foundation, an NSF Center Award (# ), and a Georgetown University GUROP awards. Introduction The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP, 1999) recommended that parents should not expose children under the age of 2 to television. In practice, however, most children are exposed to about 1-2 hours of television each day. Many parents have a positive attitude toward exposure to educational television programs designed for children known as foreground television (Rideout, Vandwater & Wartella, 2003), and there are beneficial effects of foreground television on children’s cognitive development as early as age 2 (Anderson & Pempek, 2005). Why the AAP recommendation? At a time of very rapid brain development, infants may be particularly vulnerable to television exposure for two major reasons. First, they are often exposed to background television, containing content that is designed for an older audience and thus incomprehensible to infants. Exposure to background television interrupts the duration of play bouts in 1-year-olds (Anderson & Pempek, 2005), and play is a documented contributor to early cognitive development (see Singer & Singer, 2005). Furthermore, during background television exposure, parents and caregivers attend to television content and reduce their interactions with children. Moreover, a recent study found a relationship between heavy early television use and subsequent attention problems that resembled ADHD (Christakis, Zimmerman, DiGiuseppe, & McCarty, 2004). While the study included a large sample and controlled for multiple potential risk factors, there were also limitations: 1) there was a delay between initial assessment and the follow-up 7 years later; and 2) the measure was only a 5-item checklist, not a true measure of attention or attention deficits. The present study examines how infants’ early media use subsequently affects 4-year-olds’ attention, executive functioning, and media comprehension. References American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Public Education. (1999). Media education. Pediatrics, 104, Anderson, D. & Pempek, T. (2005). Television and very young children. American Behavioral Scientist, 48, Christakis, D. A., Zimmerman, F. J., DiGiuseppe, D. L., & McCarty, C. A. (2004). Early television exposure and subsequent attentional problems in children. Pediatrics, 113, Rideout, V., Vandewater, E., & Wartella, E. (2003). Zero to six: Electronic media in the lives of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Stevens, T. & Mulsow, M. (2006). There is no meaningful relationship between television exposure and symptoms of attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder. Pediatrics, 117, Singer, D. G. & Singer, J. L. (2005). Imagination and play in the electronic age. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Vandewater, E., Bickham, D. S., & Lee, J. (2006). Time well spent? Relating television use to children's free-time activities. Pediatrics, 117, Diary MeasuresMinMaxMean Total Household Television0 hrs5 hrs 30 min1 hr 53 min Infant Exposure to Children’s Programming0 hrs4 hrs33 min Infant Exposure to Adult Programming0 hrs2 hrs 45 min37 min Table 1: Parent report of average infant exposure to television (n=41). Results Descriptive Statistics. We calculated the total amount of television usage per household and the amount of foreground and background television that infants were exposed to per day. Our sample consisted of relatively low- to medium-viewing households and viewing was typical to that of a national sample of infants in this age range (Rideout et al., 2003). Preschool measures 1.Comprehension of media was measured by 10 multiple-choice questions per media type. a)Books: Bear Shadow and Click Clack Moo (CCM) b)Videos: Dora the Explorer and Sagwa the Kitty c)Electronic books: Elmo and Little Penguin 2.Executive Functioning was measured with the BRIEF-P, a 63-item multiple-choice parent report measure regarding child behavior over the last 6 months. Five factors: a)Inhibit: ability to resist impulses and stop behaviors. b)Shift: ability for the child to move from one situation to another. c)Emotional control: ability to modulate emotional responses d)Working memory: ability to hold information in the mind in order to complete a task or make a response e)Planfulness and organization: ability to plan steps and combine elements to effectively achieve a goal. In general, the comprehension measures were highly correlated across media type, i.e., tv, computer, and book platforms. Put another way, story comprehension transcends platform. As shown in Table 4, higher levels of early television exposure does predict comprehension with children from higher TV households having poorer comprehension scores on books. Executive functioning is moderated by early media exposure. Higher levels of background television exposure during infancy were related to poorer emotional control and flexibility of thinking but exposure to foreground television was not. Discussion Main findings 1.Poorer executive functioning. Higher levels of overall household television exposure, particularly to adult programming, during late infancy was linked to poorer emotional control and flexibility in preschoolers, a potential issue for early school readiness and success. 2.Story comprehension is similar across media platforms. Preschoolers can learn well from all platforms but comprehension of books is negatively related to high levels of exposure to television during infancy. Implications and Future Research Caveat: Although early TV viewing may contribute to later emotion regulation problems, it is also possible that children with attention disorders are motivated to watch more television and/or are encouraged to do so by parents. It could also be a by-product of less parent-child interaction per se (Vandewater et al., 2006). Consistent with other findings, other forms of attention are unaffected such as working memory (Stevens & Mulsow, 2006). Early media exposure could be affecting information processing and attentional patterns such that infants with more screen exposure comprehend books less at a later time. We are currently examining whether parent interaction mediates that process.


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