Original Paper

Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 749-756

Television Viewing and Televisions in Bedrooms: Perceptions of Racial/Ethnic Minority Parents of Young Children

  • Jess HainesAffiliated withDepartment of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph Email author 
  • , Ashley O’BrienAffiliated withObesity Prevention Program, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
  • , Julia McDonaldAffiliated withObesity Prevention Program, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
  • , Roberta E. GoldmanAffiliated withDepartment of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public HealthDepartment of Family Medicine, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
  • , Marie Evans-SchmidtAffiliated withCenter for Media and Child Health, Children’s Hospital Boston
  • , Sarah PriceAffiliated withObesity Prevention Program, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
  • , Stacy KingAffiliated withCambridge Health Alliance
  • , Bettylou SherryAffiliated withDivision of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • , Elsie M. TaverasAffiliated withObesity Prevention Program, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

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Abstract

Understanding parents’ perceptions of their young children’s viewing behaviors and environments is critical to the development of effective television reduction interventions. To explore parents’ attitudes, perceptions, and experiences regarding their children’s television viewing and the use of televisions in their children’s bedrooms, we conducted focus groups with 74 racial/ethnic minority parents of children aged birth to 5 years. We analyzed transcripts of the focus group discussions using immersion-crystallization. Over 50 % of parents reported that their children watch more than 2 h of television per day and 64 % reported that their children have a television in their bedrooms. In general, parents were unconcerned about the amount of television their children watched. However, parents did express concern about the content of their children’s viewing. Discussion of potential harmful effects of television viewing focused mainly on the impact television viewing may have on children’s behavior and academic outcomes and only rarely on a concern about weight. Most parents were unaware of adverse consequences associated with children having a television in their bedroom and many reported that having a television in their child’s bedroom helped keep their child occupied. To effectively engage parents of young children, television reduction interventions should include messages that address parents’ key concerns regarding their children’s viewing and should provide parents with alternative activities to keep children occupied.

Keywords

Television Children Qualitative methods