The Plug

e Plug-In Drug
25th Anniversary Edition


How does the passive act of watching television and other electronic media -- regardless of their content -- affect a developing child's relationship to the real world? Focusing on this crucial question, Marie Winn takes a compelling look at television's impact on children and the family. Winn's classic study has been extensively updated to address the new media landscape, including new sections on: computers, video games, the VCR, the V-Chip and other control devices, TV for babies, television and physical health. Winn shows examples of how parents lose control of their children's TV watching. The book's major purpose is to help families regain control of this powerful medium.

"Declining SATs" and "The Good-Enough Family"

Two excerpts from the 25th Anniversary Edition

Mystery of the Declining SATs
There is an old, unsolved mystery involving scores on the SATs, those tests of verbal and mathematical abilities that high school students must take to be accepted into most colleges. In the mid 1960’s the average scores on the verbal part of the SATs began an almost 20 year decline. In a range from 200 to 800 points, the average scores went from 478 in 1964 to 424 in 1980– a drop of 54 points. At the beginning of the 1980’s the scores began to level off, and have stayed within five points of 424 to this day.

What brought about this troubling decline? Why did it begin just when it did? People have been trying to find the answer to these questions for years. Yet no one seems to have pursued a related question that may offer a clue to the mystery: What caused the decline to end around 1980, with no significant decreases or increases after that? Juxtaposing the SAT scores of high school students during the last 40 or so years with some statistics about TV ownership and viewing times during those years, may help to answer all three of these questions.

In 1977, when the scores had almost reached their...