Saturday, April 9, 2005

Telly can turn your kid into
a bully

A new study conducted by researchers at University of Washington suggests that early home environment and television watching influence bullying behaviour in children.

Four-year-old children who receive emotional support and cognitive stimulation from their parents are significantly less likely to become bullies in grade school, but the more television four-year-olds watch the more likely they are to bully later.

The team, led by Frederick J. Zimmerman, compared assessments of 1,266 four-year-olds enrolled in a national longitudinal study for the three potential predictors, parental emotional support, cognitive stimulation and amount of television watching at four years of age, with later bullying, reported at ages six through 11. Statistical methods were used to determine whether each predictor constituted an independent risk factor for subsequent bullying.

Cognitive stimulation assessment was based on information on outings, reading, playing and parental role in teaching a child.

13 percent of children were reported as bullies by their mothers. "The magnitude of the risk associated with television is clinically significant. One-standard deviation increase [3.9 hours] in the number hours of television watched at age four years is associated with an approximate 25 percent increase in the probability of being described as a bully by the child’s mother at ages six through 11 years," the authors added. — ANI