March 1990

Children's Television-Viewing Habits and the Family Environment

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla.

Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(3):357-359. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150270107036

• Pediatricians are encouraged to modify the impact of television on children, based on the assumption that parents mediate children's viewing habits through the home environment. Sixty-six parents of children aged 3 to 8 years responded to an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Responses to questions on family environment were compared with reported childhood viewing of educational programming (Public Broadcasting Service) and the child's television-viewing hours. Most homes surveyed had a videocassette recorder, cable television, and more than one television set. Frequent parental discussion of program content with children was reported by 38% of respondents. Availability of television and parent-child discussion of content were not correlated with viewing hours or viewing Public Broadcasting Service. Frequent use of television as a distraction for the child correlated positively with viewing hours. Viewing Public Broadcasting Service correlated negatively with parent-child coviewing and with use of television as a form of entertainment. Children's own television viewing content correlated positively with viewing Public Broadcasting Service. Of all measured factors in the home environment, parental attitudes were most closely associated with children's viewing habits.

(AJDC. 1990;144:357-359)