A Racial Disparity in Exposure to Harmful Background TV Noise

A new scholarly study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, the University of Amsterdam, and the University of Iowa, has found that Black children in the United States are exposed to far more background television noise than other children.

The authors of the report state that “background television exposure has been linked to lower sustained attention during playtime, lower-quality parent-child interactions, and reduced performance on cognitive tasks.” Their survey found that the average U.S. child is exposed to 232 minutes, or nearly four hours, of background television noise each day. But the research showed that Black children are distracted by background television for an average of 5.5 hours per day.

The authors conclude, “Attempts to reduce background TV exposure can start with both knowledge about what it is and simple recommendation for behavior change such as turning off the TV when no one is watching or taking smaller steps to reduce exposure by turning off background TV at key points during the child’s day (eg, bedtime, mealtime).”

The paper, published on the website of the journal Pediatrics, can be accessed here.

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