Media use and school achievement – boys at risk?

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In work done at the German Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony (KFN) various methods have been used to investigate how specific inappropriate media usage patterns affect academic performance in children and adolescents. The findings are paralleled by current international research indicating a negative relationship between these two variables. Based on a cross-sectional survey of 5,529 fourth grade students and a longitudinal panel study with 1,157 primary schoolchildren, a key finding can be demonstrated: the more time students spend on consuming media and the more violent its contents are, the worse are their marks at school, even when controlling for vital factors such as family, educational, or immigrant background. In particular, boys who gender-specifically are better equipped with electronic media devices, who partially have extensive media usage times and who strongly prefer violent media content, are at the risk of showing poor school performance. In fact, a decrease in academic performance of boys can be observed in German school statistics. By presenting first results of a school-based intervention programme, a promising approach to the reduction of detrimental effects of electronic media use on school performance is introduced.

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