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The researchers also found the following: “…for each additional daily hour of television that young children watched on average, the risk of subsequently having attentional problems [by age 7] was increased by almost 10 [times].” (This is a classic example of the unseen law of cause and e fect in action. But because parents are not looking for it— and this is because no one is telling them that they should—the result is a whole generation of young children with little or no stick-to-it-ive- ness. We will learn more about this generation in the next chapter.) But let’s continue: This means that 1- to 3-year-olds who watched eight hours of television a day “would have an 80% higher risk of attentional problems compared to a child who watched zero hours.” One well-known expert has stated that children should avoid all con- tact with television and video games prior to the age of three. The book, Zero to Six: Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers, published by the Kaiser Family Founda- tion, provides a look into the use of media among the very young and their parents. Some of its findings include: 83% of children use screen media, whether TV, movies or video games. 77% turn the television on by themselves. 67% request a particular program or are able to surf channels using a remote. 65% live in homes in which the TV is on half the time or more. 36% live in homes in which the TV is always on (considered a “heavy” TV household). In “heavy” TV households, 77% of children watch it every day. Such children are also less likely to read (59% vs. 68%). They are also less likely to be able to read at all (34% of children ages 4 to 6 from heavy TV households can read, compared to 56% of others the same age). The majority of parents (59%) say their 4- to 6-year-old boys imitate aggressive behavior seen on TV. And perhaps the most astonishing statistic in this entire book is that 26% of children under 2 have a TV in their bedroom. What has been the result of all this? Many young people have never visited a library or ever personally owned a book. (Most of these have little concept of the wonderful world of books.) Virtually their entire perspective on life is limited to what flashes across the TV screen. And what they constantly see is violence, corruption and widespread immorality.

Facing the Challenge


This also means that parents are up against a vast array of prob- lems built into their children by a very early age, ensuring that par- ents have a long, difficult uphill battle in being able to overcome these things.

More Astonishing Statistics

Consider these alarming statistics, and all of the anguish and suffer- ing that they represent: In 1990, 24% of U.S. families were single-parent households. By 1999, it had risen to 27%. In 1999, 68% of U.S. children lived in two-parent homes, down from 77% in 1980. From July 1, 1998 to June 30, 1999, there were 47 violent deaths in U.S. schools. From 1992 to 1999, students were more likely to be victims of theft at school than anywhere else. The U.S. has the highest number of teen pregnancies of any in- dustrialized nation—one million annually among girls ages 15 to 19. The United Kingdom is the next highest, with about half a million pregnancies annually. But this number actually repre- sents a rate that is much higher, since the U.K. is only about one-fifth the size of the United States. Of Americans who have been infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) annually, more than three million (or about 25%) are teenagers. Each year, about 25% of all new HIV cases occur in people ages 13 to 21. The following statistics are from “Heartland Village, Youth Sta- tistics” unless otherwise noted: Every night, 40% of children in America go to bed in a home without a father. 66% of children believe that absolute truth cannot be known. 10% of adolescent boys and 18% of adolescent girls have made some attempt to take their own life. A new study proclaims that teens who spend most of their free time ingesting movies, television and music see pop culture as a valid form of creativity. A study found that 87% of teens rated “directing a movie,” “being a rocket scientist” and “being a good teacher” as equally important pursuits.

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