Factors influencing the television viewing practices of Indian children

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Objectives: To study the effect of socio-demographic factors, parental regulations and maternal television usage on the television viewing practices of Indian schoolchildren. Methods: Mothers of 6-12 y old children were interviewed using a pre-tested questionnaire at the pediatric outpatient. The television viewing practices of 405 schoolchildren with maternal television viewing and parental television rules were analyzed. Specific television viewing practices considered harmful in the present study were- viewing television >2 h, viewing television just prior to sleep (at bedtime), predominantly viewing general adult channels and using television as an aid to sleep. Results: 35.8%(n =145) of the children viewed television for >2 h on schooldays. 20% (n =81) used television as sleep-aid. 28.1% (n =114) children had televisions in the room they slept. The frequency of parental television rules were with respect to: duration of viewing- 77.5% (n =314), timing of viewing- 63.7% (n =258), content- 35.6% ( n =144). The children of families with the rule needing of parental permission to switch on the television [present in 34.8% (n =141) children] had lower harmful television viewing practices: duration of television viewing on schooldays >2 h (23.4%, n =33, P<0.001); television viewed just before sleep (39%, n =55, P<0.001); use of television as sleep-aid (12.1%, n =17, P =0.003). 26.7% (n =108) of the mothers viewed television for >2 h. Linear regression analysis showed association between average television duration of children and averagematernal television duration on schooldays (Beta=0.246, t=5.09, P<0.001). Binary logistic regression analysis showed that harmful television viewing practices were significantly more in children with television in bedroom [OR=7.49(4.19-13.38), P<0.001]. It was reduced significantly by the parental rules on content viewed [OR=0.41(0.23-0.72), P =0.002]; need of permission to switch on television [OR=0.31(0.18-0.53), P<0.001] and a higher maternal education [OR=0.29 (0.14-0.59), P =0.001]. Conclusions: Lower maternal education, increased maternal television usage, presence of television in bedroom resulted in harmful television viewing practices among Indian children. The parental rules that were effective in countering these were the rule on content viewed and needing parental permission to switch on television.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-119
Number of pages6
JournalIndian Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01-01-2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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