The following is a summary from the Leadership Network of an article entitled: This Just In: The Boob-Tube, Not YouTube, Is Transforming the World
Television has become a revolutionary force for good in the majority of the world -- not just a couch potato-maker. Using a robust sample of data over many years and countries, Charles Kenny, a development economist with the World Bank, found a high correlation between areas that receive and consume TV and positive trends in literacy, school enrollment, health outcomes, birth control, lower levels of drug use and corruption, and even increased prosperity.
His conclusion is that we live and consume media in two worlds: The Internet-ascendant minority world (US & Europe) and the TV-ascendant majority World (the Developing World). "Television has had important development impacts," says Ethan Zuckerman, a global social entrepreneur with Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. "So have radio, especially community radio, and mobile phones. Because we're going through an Internet revolution in the U.S., we tend to look for a parallel revolution in the developing world."
According to Internet World Stats, world Internet penetration rates are highest in North America at 74%, followed by Oceania/Australia at 60%, Europe at 52%, Latin America/Caribbean at 31%, Middle East at 29%, Asia at 19% and Africa at 7%. The world average is 26%.
In SuperFreakonomics, by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, the authors point out how the attitudes of Indian women are changing because of greater access to TV. Note, of course, that the TV they're seeing isn't necessarily the kind of third rate filler that's appearing on most NZ television channels these days!