African Americans Watch Too Much TV, Low Reading Proficiency

A while back, I wrote a piece describing the manner in which many African Americans do not take full advantage of social media. In addition, I am frequently bringing attention to the fact that reading is slowly falling off among members in our community.

Each time, I obtain vehement ridicule and slander for my assertions, especially when I assert that African Americans watch more television than they read or that they use cell phones more than any other ethnic or race population in the U.S.

Now, a new report has just been released confirming that blacks spend entirely too much time watching television. Nielsen’s latest State of the Media: U.S. TV Trends by Ethnicity documents that the  amount of television viewing in the U.S. remains high, suggesting that the average person watched more than 143 hours of television per month. African Americans indicated the highest rate of total TV usage, according to the study released on March 30, 2011.

Based on data collected in November 2010, African Americans used their TVs an average of 7 hours, 12 minutes each day — above the U.S. average of 5 hours, 11 minutes. In addition, African Americans reported using their DVD players and video game consoles more than average. In contrast, Asians watched TV the least, at just 3 hours, 14 minutes a day on average.

This, in concert with African Americans being among the most active users of the mobile web and other electronic devices on average more than 1,300 hours a month,  may eventually become a problem behavior.  Many health problems — including obesity, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure, which African Americans report more than any other ethnic racial group — are the direct result of a lack of regular physical activity.

Reading is definitely a major concern.  A recent study in Wisconsin noted that 91 percent of its black students are not reading proficiently by 4th grade. These were comparable to findings across the nation. Reading, as well as regular physical activity, is essential for the development of a healthy mind, body and spirit. Let us move away from the televisions, go outside and move around and pick up a book … before it is too late. –torrance stephens, ph.d.



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