Just switching off the TV set may not help you keep your kids away from negative influence of the idiot-box, as indirect media exposure, i.e., having friends who watch TV, might be even more damaging for a teen, say researchers.
Harvard Medical School scientists examined the link between media consumption and eating disorders among adolescent girls in Fiji.
They found that direct forms of exposure, like personal or parental viewing, did not have an independent impact, when factors like urban location, body shape and other influences were taken into account. It appeared that changing attitudes within a group that had been exposed to television were a more powerful factor than actually watching the programs themselves.
In fact, higher peer media exposure were linked to a 60 percent increase in a girl's odds of having a high level of eating disorder symptoms, independently of her own viewing.