Too much television is often considered a modern day problem, but, according to The Canberra Times on this day in 1978, it has been causing issues for years. The front page reported that the ACT Schools Authority had told the Senate Standing Committee on Education and the Arts that an ACT primary school had provided sleep and food for those students who stayed up too late watching television. Many primary school teachers reported some children were "regularly tired and unresponsive ... because of late-night viewing".
A survey was conducted as the committee investigated the impact of television on learning and development, revealing teachers faced more problems in the classroom as television viewing increased. One teacher even reported a student expecting "commercial breaks" during lessons. Other issues were reduced attention spans, reduced imaginative powers and poorer reading skills. But teachers did agree that positive effects included increased knowledge of world events, different cultures and natural science. Teachers of one school conducted their own survey, finding that the students' average viewing time was 4.6 hours a day. 5 per cent of children watched television for about 10 hours on Sundays, and many stayed up late watching adult-only programs.
The ACT Schools Authority said, "One school reported that it had to arrange sleep and even food at school for some children who go to bed late and come to school without breakfast". Its submission outlined the need for further research into the effects of television on students. See: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/14556662
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