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Children soak up views of life by watching TV for hours every day


Washington -- Nearly half of America's school-aged kids have a TV in their bedroom and more worry about getting AIDS than worry about getting into college, according to a national survey on youth, education and television.

Sponsored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the poll's preliminary findings document the profound influence that television has on the culture of children.

After spending a day in schools where three in four teachers use TV in their classrooms, the survey showed, nearly four of five children watch television at home before eating dinner.

For keeping up with current events, 79 percent of the respondents -- children aged 6 to 17 -- said they get most of their news from television. That compares to 30 percent who read newspapers.

The survey, conducted for CPB by the Yankelovich Youth Monitor, asked 1,100 children across the country about their involvement with media, both at home and in school. Preliminary findings were released yesterday with the full report scheduled for publication in November.

While at home, the survey found, school children watch an average of 2 1/2 hours of television on school days and four hours and 20 minutes on an average weekend day. Their favorite programs are evening comedy shows (80 percent); Saturday morning cartoons (64 percent); music videos (41 percent); live sports, evening adventure shows (38 percent); game shows (34 percent); after-school specials (33 percent); news shows (20 percent); talk shows (19 percent); and soap operas (17 percent).

Only about half of the children questioned said their parents set rules limiting their TV viewing.

The study found 47 percent of the respondents have a TV set in their room, compared to 29 percent with phones in their rooms.

Asked about their worries, 58 percent of the kids said they are concerned about making money when they grow up. Other big worries: pollution and the environment (56 percent), getting AIDS (48 percent), not being successful (47 percent); not getting into college (46 percent) and having to fight a war (44 percent).

As for what kids do after school: 79 percent put watching television at the top. Other activities include talking on the phone (49 percent); doing chores (46 percent); and participating on a sports team (27 percent).

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