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Too much TV time for toddlers linked to risk of being bullied, study suggests
Article by: Today
July 17, 2015
Views: 3,293,330

Toddlers who spend a lot of time in front of a TV may be at greater risk of being bullied later in life, a new study suggests.

As the number of hours of TV watching increased, so did the risk of being victimized by classmates in middle school, according to the study published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.

"Television to me is a pleasant pastime," said study coauthor Linda Pagani, a psychologist and professor in the school of psycho-education at the University of Montreal and a researcher at the brain health division of the Sainte-Justine's Children's Hospital. "But too much of one pastime can come at the detriment of another."

When you go beyond two hours of TV watching, it takes away from more engaging activities, Pagani said. Most important of those would be direct interactions with parents, where children learn how socialize and develop "emotional intelligence," she added.

"Emotional intelligence is driven by social experience," Pagani explained. "I talk, you listen. You talk, I listen. We look each other in the eye. Eye contact is a really powerful mode of communication. It tells a lot about people's internal states. Kids can grow up with deficits in their emotional skills."

And that, Pagani said, may leave them more vulnerable to bullying.

Pagani and her colleagues followed 991 girls and 1,006 boys who were taking part in the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development. When the children were 29 months old, the researchers queried parents about the kids' TV viewing habits, including DVD watching. Parents were also asked about their children's behavior — how impulsive or aggressive they were, for example.

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