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New study shows concerns about screen time for toddlers

For young children, heavy use of technology and sitting in front of a television for hours each day can be detrimental to their development, according to The New York Times. However, a recent study published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics has revealed a link between the amount of time toddlers spend watching TV and an increased risk for being bullied in their middle school years. 

Today reports that the study coauthor Linda Pagani, a psychologist and professor in the school of psycho-education at the University of Montreal, said that when children exceed two hours of television viewing a day, it lessens their amount of direct social interactions with their parents where they learn how to effectively communicate and develop emotional intelligence. Without this time, the study showed that these children are at greater risk of having deficits in their emotional skills, which could leave them more vulnerable to being victimized later in their childhood. 

The study consisted of 1,006 boys and 991 girls, who were first followed when they were 29 months old. Researchers asked their parents about their screen time habits and about their children's behavior. Once the children reached the sixth grade, the children were queried about how often they were bullied and as to the nature of the teasing.Once this data was compiled, the study found that there was an increase of 11 percent in the frequency of bullying for each child who watched an additional hour of television as a toddler. 

Though there are skeptics questioning as to whether these two data sets are directly related through a cause and effect relationship, this same 11 percent increase was true even with factors such as children's cognitive abilities, family functioning and behavioral abilities were taken into account. 

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