Anderson, D. R., Huston, A. C., Schmitt, K.L., Linebarger, D.L., & Wright, J.C. (2001). Early childhood television viewing and adolescent behavior: The recontact study. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 66 (1), vii-147.

Abstract: The authors report the follow-up of 570 adolescents who had been studied as preschoolers in 1 of 2 separate investigations of television use. The primary goal of the study was to determine the long-term relations between preschool television viewing and adolescent achievement, behavior, and attitudes. Using a telephone interview and high school transcripts, they assessed adolescent media use; grades in English, science, and math; leisure reading; creativity; aggression; participation in extracurricular activities; use of alcohol and cigarettes; and self-image. Theories emphasizing the causal role of television content (e.g., social learning, information processing) as contrasted with those theories positing effects of television as a medium, irrespective of content (e.g., time displacement, pacing, interference with language). The results provided much stronger support for content-based hypotheses than for theories emphasizing television as a medium; moreover, the patterns differed for boys and girls. The medium of television is not homogeneous or monolithic, and content viewed is more important than raw amount. The medium is not the message: The message is. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)