By Leslie Wade, CNN
(CNN) - For years, pediatricians have recommended that young children watch no TV, or as little as possible, because it can lead to problems in school and behavior issues. Now a new study concedes children are sitting in front of the TV a lot longer. However, controlling what they watch can improve how they behave.
When preschoolers watch educational programs instead of violent TV shows, they tend to be more compassionate and less aggressive, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
About 600 families were recruited and assigned to one of two groups. Parents in the first group were encouraged to substitute violent shows with educational and pro-social ones – shows that stressed compassion and cooperation.
Families were given monthly TV guides listing educational programming for their area: shows such as "Dora the Explorer," "Super WHY," "Sesame Street" and "It's a Big, Big World." Parents were also encouraged to watch TV with their kids.
The children went from watching a half-hour of violent programming a day to 23 minutes. Parents then increased educational viewing from about 30 to 43 minutes a day.
Families in the second group did not change their viewing habits.
"This is the first study to try to modify the viewing habits of preschool kids," says Dr. Vic Strasburger, spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. "That's one of the significances of this study."
After a year, researchers found that children watching less violent and more child-appropriate shows scored better on tests that measured cooperation, a willingness to share or compromise. They also had fewer incidents of aggressive behavior such as yelling and hitting.
(CNN) - Millions of students are chronically absent. CNN's Athena Jones looks at what schools are doing to increase attendance.
(CNN) - A school near Fort Worth, Texas, is facing questions about its corporal punishment procedures after a student came home with a bottom that "looked almost as if it had been burned and blistered."
Springtown High School sophomore Taylor Santos requested corporal punishment because she didn't want to return to in-school suspension, a punishment she said she received when a classmate cheated off her, CNN affiliate WFAA reported. Her mother agreed because it was Taylor's preference, but expected her daughter to be hit by a woman: A district policy says corporal punishment should only be administered by people the same sex as the student. Although a woman was in the room, a man hit her, leaving red marks and welts that lasted for days, Taylor and her mother said.
Texas is one of 19 states where it's legal for school employees to hit students. During the 2005-06 school year, 223,190 students around the United States were punished physically, according to The Center for Effective Discipline.
The superintendent suggested they change the policy to remove the sex requirement, but Taylor's family says she's proof it's needed. Now, the school district has changed the policy to require parents to request in writing corporal punishment and the sex of the person administering it.
What do you think? Should schools be able to administer corporal punishment? What requirements should be in place for it to occur?
by Carl Azuz, CNN
(CNN) - “School is boring,” say about half of American students who routinely skip. But when asked what they’re doing instead of attending class, most say they’re just hanging out with their friends or sleeping.
A survey recently published at Getschooled.com cites data that as many as 7 million students - about 15% of the K-12 population - are out of school 18 or more days of the school year. And many of them don’t think skipping school will impact their future.
That’s not in line with reality. The study points out that students who skip more than 10 days of school are significantly (about 20%) less likely to get a high school diploma. And they’re 25% less likely to enroll in higher education.
Can parents have an impact here? Absolutely. In fact, parental encouragement to attend school was the most widely cited factor in what would make students want to go to class diligently.
But many of those surveyed said their parents didn’t even know when students skipped. In fact, 42% said their parents either never knew or rarely knew when their kids were absent from school; another 24% added that parents knew “sometimes.” So parental engagement and knowledge of children’s whereabouts seem key to keeping kids in class.
Students also said that encouragement from anyone to whom they felt a personal connection, from teachers to coaches to celebrities, could influence better attendance. “If we - parents, educators, and even celebrities - show them we truly care about them, their aspirations and frustrations, they will be more likely to care about making it to school,” writes Marie Groark, executive director of the Get Schooled Foundation.
Other solutions: Those surveyed said they wanted to see a “clear connection” between their classes and the jobs they’d like down the road. They also cited a better understanding of consequences, greater support of teachers, and more friends at school as factors that could make them attend more often.
by the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) Ten months after a drum major died after being beaten in a hazing ritual and days after a school dance team was suspended amid similar allegations, Florida A&M University said Friday that all students must sign an anti-hazing pledge in order to attend classes.
The school's announcement - which also heralded the launch of a website, StopHazingatFAMU.com - is its latest attempt to address events that thrust the university into the center of the national discussion about the perils of hazing.
The new requirement, starting in spring 2013, mandates that students sign the anti-hazing pledge in order to register for classes at the Tallahassee school. By signing it, they promise not to participate "in any hazing activities either as a hazer or hazee, on or off campus" and to report any information about hazing to campus authorities within 24 hours.
"Everyone on campus needs to be unified in the fight against hazing," Larry Robinson, the university's interim president, said Friday in a press release. "We will continue to enact change, positively empower our students and provide resources going forward to ensure that we provide a safer and healthier environment for learning."
In his convocation address kicking off the school year Friday, Robinson stressed to students that eliminating hazing is a priority.
"If in fact (hazing incidents) do occur, I just want everyone to know our actions will be swift, and they will be decisive," he said.FULL STORY