Children between the ages of 2 and 11 are viewing social aggression on television at rates far greater than what many parents may realize, new research indicates.

In a study published Thursday in the Journal of Communication, researchers aimed to understand the role media plays in children’s psychosocial development. They found that among the 50 most popular television shows for 2 to 11 year olds as ranked by Nielsen Media Research, 92 percent of the programs contained some social aggression, both verbal and non-verbal forms.

“Parents need to be more aware that just because shows do not contain physical aggression, it doesn’t mean that there is not anti-social behavior present,” said Nicole Martins, assistant professor in the Department of Telecommunications at Indiana University and lead author of the study.

“I’m not saying that parents can’t use the television at all,” Martins added, “but it could be a teaching opportunity to emphasize that some of those mean remarks may cause lasting emotional scars.”

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