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Television Time Linked to Aggression in Toddlers

Indirect and direct exposure to television significantly associated with aggression

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Three-year-olds' direct and indirect exposure to television is significantly associated with increased risk for aggressive behavior, according to a study in the November issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Jennifer A. Manganello, Ph.D., of the State University of New York in Rensselaer, and Catherine A. Taylor, Ph.D., of Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, conducted a study across 20 cities of 3,128 mothers of children born between 1998 and 2000 who participated in a 36-month in-home survey.

The researchers looked at the children's direct and indirect television exposure, as well as demographic characteristics and factors that increase or decrease the risk of aggression. They found that 3-year-olds being spanked, living in a disorderly neighborhood, having a depressed mother or stressed parents were all associated with aggressive behavior, and that when other factors were controlled for, both direct and indirect television exposure were significantly associated with aggressive behavior.

"Current American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations mainly suggest limitations for direct child exposure to TV and other media; however, our findings suggest that additional household TV use may also be an important predictor of negative childhood outcomes, such as early childhood aggression," the authors write.

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