Home Media and Children’s Achievement and Behavior


  • Support for this study was provided under NICHD Grants R21-HD-050125 and R24-HD041041.

concerning to this article should be addressed to Sandra L. Hofferth, Department of Family Science, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. Electronic mail may be sent to hofferth@umd.edu.


This study provides a national picture of the time American 6- to 12-year-olds spent playing video games, using the computer, and watching TV at home in 1997 and 2003, and the association of early use with their achievement and behavior as adolescents. Girls benefited from computer use more than boys, and Black children benefited more than White children. Greater computer use in middle childhood was associated with increased achievement for White and Black girls, and for Black but not White boys. Increased video game play was associated with an improved ability to solve applied problems for Black girls but lower verbal achievement for all girls. For boys, increased video game play was linked to increased aggressive behavior problems.