, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 49-62

Setting rules or sitting down: Parental mediation of television consumption and adolescent self-esteem, body image, and sexuality

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Many parents express concern over the impact of television on adolescents’ attitudes and behaviors. Understanding not only what adolescents are watching on television but also how they are watching it could inform household television policies and practices, as well as media-literacy efforts. The current study examined parents as mediators of adolescents’ television viewing and offers recommendations for parents’ television involvement. Adolescent participants (N = 847) reported their televisionviewing habits, how often they watched or talked about television with parents, and whether parents imposed rules restricting their viewing. Adolescents whose parents were more involved in their television viewing reported greater self-esteem and less sexual experience. Among girls, parental television involvement was also associated with greater body satisfaction. Adolescents with parental television restrictions also reported less sexual experience. Findings suggest that parental television involvement may influence self-esteem and body image, in part by increasing parent-child closeness.