“School-aged children spend more time watching television than any activity other than sleeping,” says Linder, who conducts research on media effects on children and adolescents.
Unfortunately, the relational aggression on TV rubs off on children, according to Linder’s research. They pick up negative behaviors such as rumor-spreading, the silent treatment, social exclusion or threats to withdraw love or friendship.
“This type of aggression often produces loneliness, depression and eating disorders in both the victims and aggressors,” she says.
Linder recommends that parents reduce the time their children spend in front of the screen, review what they watch and discuss the content in a thoughtful manner.
“Perhaps the most important thing parents can do is simply be aware that media affects everyone,” she concludes.