Background Television in the Homes of US Children

Communication Studies, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 10/2012; 130(5). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-2581
Source: PubMed


US parents were surveyed to determine the amount of background television that their children are exposed to as well as to isolate demographic factors associated with increased exposure to background television. After this, we ask how certain home media practices are linked to children's background television exposure.

US parents/caregivers (N = 1454) with 1 child between the ages of 8 months and 8 years participated in this study. A nationally representative telephone survey was conducted. Parents were asked to report on their child's exposure to background television via a 24-hour time diary. Parents were also asked to report relevant home media behaviors related to their child: bedroom television ownership, number of televisions in the home, and how often a television was on in the home.

The average US child was exposed to 232.2 minutes of background television on a typical day. With the use of multiple regression analysis, we found that younger children and African American children were exposed to more background television. Leaving the television on while no one is viewing and children's bedroom television ownership were associated with increased background television exposure.

Although recent research has shown the negative consequences associated with background television, this study provides the first nationally representative estimates of that exposure. The amount of exposure for the average child is startling. This study offers practitioners potential pathways to reduce exposure.

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    • "Thus, the present study was designed to assess play and background TV exposure in infants from both lower-and middle-SES households. Like many of the investigations of TV viewing and/or exposure in the home, including those described above (e.g., Barr, Danziger, et al., 2010; Lapierre et al., 2012; Rideout, 2011, 2013; Zimmerman et al., 2007), this study relies on maternal reports. Besides their use in these studies and despite some researchers' hesitations, maternal report measures have been successfully employed in many diverse areas of young children's development, including temperament (e.g., Kochanska, DeVet, Goldman, Murray, & Putnam, 1994), behavioral inhibition (e.g., Chronis-Tuscano et al., 2009), and language development (e.g., Tamis-LeMonda, Bornstein, & Baumwell, 2001). "
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    ABSTRACT: Mothers of 126 infants, 54 lower-socioeconomic status (SES) infants (26 younger, 4–11 months; 28 older, 12–19 months) and 72 middle-SES infants (12–17 months), answered questionnaires about their infants’ typical television (TV) watching and interest, the frequency of their independent play with toys and dyadic play with and without toys, and whether or not the TV was typically on in the room at the time. Although infants spent little time actively watching TV, the majority of mothers in all groups reported the TV typically turned on in the room at least half the time during all types of play. Mothers reported middle-SES infants engaged more frequently in individual and dyadic toy play, but lower-SES infants were more often exposed to background TV/video during play. Because play is important to infant development and background TV can disrupt it, these findings raise concerns, particularly for infants residing in lower-SES households.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Children and Media
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    • "Thus identified correlates may also vary at different ages. For example, LaPierre and colleagues found that children aged 8–24 months are exposed to more background television than older children [37], while our review reports that older children consistently watch or are intentionally exposed to more overall television. "
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    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
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