Over at ScienceWorldReport they report that 5 year olds who watch more than 3 hours of TV a day are more than likely to be involved in anti-social behavior. After reading the reporth though, it seems that the people in charge of the experiment did not get a number of various children to be split into groups and then dictate which group watch less or more TV than usual. THAT would have made too much sense. No, they took the data from families who already fit into these TV viewing habits.
So how can they know for sure that the potentially anti-social kids are not predisposed to WANT to watch more TV than the potentially non-anti-social kids?
This is what drives me crazy whenever violent TV and video games are blamed for violent behavior. Only a small minority of people who watch this stuff go out and commit crimes, yet because they are compared with people who don’t watch this material and who don’t commit crimes, they jump to the assumption that the two are connected.
And they could be connected! – But not necessarily for that reason.
The anti-social tendency contained within Autistic Spectrum Disorder (but that does not mean everyone with ASD has it), could exist first, and that could be what makes these kids want to sit and watch TV and play video games all day long – because ASD produces obsessive (repetitive) behavior. Kids with ADHD and dyslexia (part of ASD) will always turn to the easist activities than the more difficult ones, so avid TV audiences are full of kids (and adults for that matter) with such conditions; the very conditions that are also present in many people with anti-social behavior problems.
If only it could be a legal requirement that people who dream up these experiments have to actually follow a common-sense route, that does not allow them to jump to possibly incorrect conclusions. In this case, to change the habits of the subjects during the experiment; NOT to lazily collect data from already existing habits. Sheesh.
Photo by James Emery on Flickr