Parents typically don’t have a clue, unless the school tells them, about the media’s negative effects on the school environment. The media’s sexualizing of children shows up at school in all sorts of ways: in children’s speech, their actions, and their dress.
Nor do most parents know what the research shows. Schools should tell them. In March 2002, Science magazine reported that teenage boys and girls who watch more than three hours of TV a day are four times more likely as adults to fight or assault another person, compared to teens who watch less than an hour a day. This difference held regardless of whether the teens came from stable, middle-class homes or from low-income families with a history of childhood neglect. Other research shows that the more TV kids watch, the lower their level of enthusiasm for learning.
The school can also bring this issue home to parents by conducting a media survey of its own students. Here are some of the survey questions used by Emma Tinoco, principal of the Campus Chihuahua junior high school in Chihuahua, Mexico: “What are your favorite TV programs? What video games do you play? Do you have a TV in your own room? About how much time each day do you watch television? Do you watch TV while doing homework (sometimes, never, always)? Do you watch TV while eating dinner (sometimes, never, always)? Are there any TV shows (list them) that your family does not permit you to watch?”