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Yes, television rots your brain

When it comes to kids and media, most parents have probably moved on to worrying about the possible effects of video gaming and habitual texting. But new research suggests an old technology—television—remains highly problematic.

Researchers from The Ohio State University report preschoolers who either had a television in their room, or whose parents routinely kept the family set on as background noise, performed less well on an assessment of mental and emotional development. Specifically, they have a poorer understanding of other people’s mental states, “including beliefs, desires, intentions and emotions.”

This ability to “read” people, and grasp the fact that not everyone shares your views and attitudes, is known as theory of mind. It’s a vital step toward maturity, and this study suggests heavy exposure to TV hinders its development.

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