Study: Will Screentime Pwn Your Children?

Usually when scientists wonder if something affects something else, they set up a randomized control trial — some people get “stuff” and some people get “not stuff” and then they watch with bated breath and spreadsheets to see how these two groups differ. But you can’t prescribe everything and in these cases, instead of randomized control trials, scientists are increasingly turning to “natural experiments” that happen to split people into “stuff” and “not stuff” groups. One of these things you can’t prescribe with any accuracy is media consumption — and so a review by UCSD economist Gordon Dahl uses natural experiments to show how media affects families.

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