Saturday, June 04, 2011

Really? 70% more?

In China Daily yesterday (China Daily 06/03/2011 pg 9), Amy Chua has a piece called "The Real Hymn of the Tiger Mother". It's more of her saying "look, I was misunderstood", but with a slant for her readers of "what Chinese parents can learn from my book" - including not trying to force their kids into a single mold. Kind of interesting to get this different slant ... but in it she says:
The average American child spends almost 70 percent more time watching television than attending school.
O rly? 70% more?

It's totally ludicrous for a school day, so let's be fair and look at a week. There are 168 hours in a week. If the kid goes to school for 8 hours (8-4), then that's 40 a week - leaving 128. Okay, 70% of 40 is 28, so she's saying they watch 68 hours of tv a week. That leaves 60 hours. If they sleep 8 hours a day, that's 56 hours, leaving ... 4. Four hours to eat, get to and fro, shower, text, play, feed the dog, do their chores... Even if you cut their sleep down to 6 a day, that's only 18 hours for all the rest. If you cut school to 7 hours, we get 168-35-59-40=34 hours for non-school/sleep/tv.

Sure, you could factor in summer, when there's no school. But really. 70% more time? She's saying they watch tv for more than 2300 hours a year - more than 2700 hours a year if they're in school 8 hours a day. That's an average of seven and a half hours a day. Honestly, now: do you know any child that watches that much?

Most of the things I found (such as the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) say only
Children in the United States watch an average of three to four hours of television a day. By the time of high school graduation, they will have spent more time watching television than they have in the classroom.
Let's look at that: 4 hours a day, 365 days a year = 1460. An 8-hour school day, 40 weeks a year = 1600 ... a 7-hour day = 1400. Okay, that's more. But nowhere close to 70% more.

That's not a statistic. That's a scare tactic.

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