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Too much reality TV 'harms pupils' grades'

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Too much reality TV 'harms pupils' grades'
Nabilla (left) the star of the French reality TV show Angels of Reality TV. But are shows like hers harming the academic performance of pupils? Photos: Anges de Telerealité/RuneMathison/flickr
18:13 CET+01:00
Have you ever been worried that too much reality TV might be frying your brain or more to the point your kids' brains? Well you better read on.

Parents everywhere have been muttering it under their breaths for years and now French researchers claim to have dealt conclusive proof.

A study by the Ministry of Education linked body DEPP (Direction of Evaluation, forecasting and performance) shows a dramatic reduction in results for 15-year-old pupils who watch too much reality TV.

The study, which relied on stats from the Ministry of Education, looked at the impact on grades of the typical activities of young kids in France from playing video games to listening to music and sending texts to friends but it was watching shows like The Voice,  Koh Lanta (the French version of Survivor)  or the Infamous Angels of Reality TV, featuring Nabilla (pictured) that appears to have the most detrimental impact on standards.

“It is the frequent watching of reality TV programmes that impacts the most negatively on the cognitive and academic performances,” said the study.

Too much reality TV sees an 11 percent drop in kids mathematics ability and 16 percent fall for all round knowledge, according to the two researchers, Alain Lieury a Professer at the University of Rennes II and Sonia Lorant from an interuniversity lab.

The pair also compared the impact of reading to the watching of reality TV and found that an average student would have scored 14 out of 20 if they read regularly, but those addicted to reality TV shows would only score on average 8.4 out of 20.

Reading, they said was much more likely to lead to a richer vocabularly than reality TV, with the average vocab of comics containing 867 words and the TV shows just 598 different words.

The good news is that watching reality TV is not the most common hobby of French 15-year-olds. Top of the list is listening to music, then texting, then in third place it’s chatting on the internet.

Watching reality TV is down in sixth place, although around 42 percent of teenage pupils do it regularly.

Although there was bad news for TV addicts, there was good news for players of video games.

“Overall the majority of recreational activities such as video games, has little or no influence on academic or cognitive performance. They are leisure activities that allow youngsters to relax and to express emotional and social behaviour," the study said.

The report was carried out by looking at the academic performances of 27,000 students in secondary school in 2011.

Do you let you children watch reality TV? 

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