According to a study by researchers at Ohio State University, there is a strong link between the development of “theory of mind” and the use of television in families. 

“Theory of mind” is the faculty to understand that different minds can have different mental states and that others may have different thoughts, beliefs, knowledge, emotions, desires, intentions, etc., than oneself.  This is an important milestone along a child’s social and cognitive development. Incapacity to perceive the mind of others may result in deficient social behavior. 

Exchange and negotiation of thoughts and ideas between real people are necessary to reach a theory of mind, a task at which a TV-set is very bad. “Both heavy background television and the presence of a television in the child’s bedroom may be indicators of households in which parents are relatively less engaged with children,” the investigators wrote.

Image: A child watching TV (Wikimedia Commons)