Greater time spent screen-viewing (SV) has been linked to adverse health outcomes. The aim of this study was to examine whether parental SV time is associated with child SV time on week and weekend days.
Cross-sectional survey of 1078 children aged 5-6 and at least 1 parent. Child and parent SV was reported for weekday and weekend days. Logistic regression examined whether parental SV time was associated with child SV time, with separate analyses for mothers and fathers and interaction terms for child gender.
12% of boys, 8% of girls and 30% of mothers and fathers watched >=2 hours of TV each weekday. On a weekend day, 45% of boys, 43% of girls, 53% of mothers and 57% of fathers spent >=2 hours watching TV. Where parents exceeded 2 hours TV-watching per weekday, children were 3.4 times more likely to spend >= 2 hours TV-watching if their father exceeded the threshold with odds of 3.7 for mothers. At weekends, daughters of fathers who exceeded 2 hours watching TV were over twice as likely as sons to exceed this level. Evidence that parent time spent using computers was associated with child computer use was also strongest between fathers and daughters (vs. sons) (OR 3.5 vs. 1.0, p interaction = 0.027).
Strong associations were observed between parent and child SV and patterns were different for weekdays versus weekend days. Results show that time spent SV for both parents is strongly associated with child SV, highlighting the need for interventions targeting both parents and children.
Alex's notes: It's known that parents exert a strong influence upon their children, and this study continues to support that notion. This goes beyond simple screen time, however. There are many habits that exist in the world, some good, some bad. Parents need to understand that they influence what the children do, be it nutrition or activity related. If you are a parent, be the example you know you should be.