Sunday Star Times 18 Dec 2011
A childhood spent in front of the box leads to an adulthood spent in the dole queue, new research from Otago University suggests. In a world-first study, researchers have found a correlation between the number of hours spent watching television as a child with the amount of time an adult spends unemployed. It has been known for some time that increased television-watching is associated with lower educational achievement and lower attentiveness.
The study of 1037 children born in Dunedin between 1972 and 1973 showed that of those who watched less than two hours of television a day, about 18 per cent would spend 12 months of their adult life to age 32 unemployed. Of those who watched more than three hours a day, about 32 per cent would spend more than a year jobless. When it came to longest period of unemployment, of the less-than-two- hours-TV group, about 10 per cent would spend more than a year continuously unemployed. Of the over-three-hours-TV group, about 22 per cent would fall into the same category. The effect was stronger statistically for males, which the authors suggested may have come from women reporting their roles as home-maker or child-carer rather than unemployed.