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How is adults' screen time behaviour influencing their views on screen time restrictions for children? A cross-sectional study

journal contribution
posted on 2018-08-23, 00:00 authored by Stephanie SchoeppeStephanie Schoeppe, Amanda RebarAmanda Rebar, CE Short, Stephanie AlleyStephanie Alley, W Van Lippevelde, Corneel VandelanotteCorneel Vandelanotte
Background: High screen time in children and its detrimental health effects is a major public health problem. How much screen time adults think is appropriate for children remains little explored, as well as whether adults' screen time behaviour would determine their views on screen time restrictions for children. This study aimed to investigate how adults' screen time behaviour influences their views on screen time restrictions for children, including differences by gender and parental status. Methods: In 2013, 2034 Australian adults participated in an online survey conducted by the Population Research Laboratory at Central Queensland University, Rockhampton. Adult screen time behaviour was assessed using the Workforce Sitting Questionnaire. Adults reported the maximum time children aged between 5-12 years should be allowed to spend watching TV and using a computer. Ordinal logistic regression was used to compare adult screen time behaviour with views on screen time restrictions for children. Results: Most adults (68 %) held the view that children should be allowed no more than 2 h of TV viewing and computer use on school days, whilst fewer adults (44 %) thought this screen time limit is needed on weekend days. Women would impose higher screen time restrictions for children than men (p < 0.01). Most adults themselves spent > 2 h on watching TV and using the computer at home on work days (66 %) and non-work days (88 %). Adults spending ≤ 2 h/day in leisure-related screen time were less likely to permit children > 2 h/day of screen time. These associations did not differ by adult gender and parental status. Conclusions: Most adults think it is appropriate to limit children's screen time to the recommended ≤ 2 h/day but few adults themselves adhere to this screen time limit. Adults with lower screen use may be more inclined to limit children's screen time. Strategies to reduce screen time in children may also need to target adult screen use.






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BioMed Central, UK

Additional Rights

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • Yes

External Author Affiliations

Ghent University, Belgium, University of Adelaide

Era Eligible

  • Yes


BMC Public Health