Parental media mediation styles for children aged 2 to 11 years

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006 Apr;160(4):395-401. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.160.4.395.


Background: Studies indicate that children use media (television, video, and computer) more than the recommended limit of 2 h/d, but little is known about parents' role in mediating their children's media use.

Design: Office-based survey. Data were collected on demographics, reported media behaviors, parental awareness about media effects, television in the bedroom, and parental concern. We developed logistic regression models to examine factors associated with the following 3 mediation approaches: restrictive, instructive, and unlimited.

Setting: Pediatric Research in Office Settings practices.

Participants: Parents with children aged 2 to 11 years (n = 1831) presenting for a well-child visit.

Results: Almost half of parents reported a single mediation approach, including restrictive for 23%, instructive for 11%, and unlimited for 7%, with 59% reporting the use of multiple strategies. Restrictive (odds ratio [OR], 1.16; P<.001) and instructive (OR, 1.06; P = .02) approaches were associated with increased awareness about negative media effects, whereas a decreased awareness existed for those who used an unlimited approach (OR, 0.87; P<.001). A restrictive strategy also occurred with increased parental concern (OR, 1.77; P<.001) and 2 adults in the home (OR, 1.64; P<.01). The only strategy associated with the child's age was instructive mediation, noted more often with younger children (OR, 1.41; P<.001). Allowing unlimited media use occurred when parents permitted a television in the child's bedroom (OR, 2.13; P<.001) and were Latino (OR, 2.03; P<.01) or African American (OR, 2.20; P<.001). Mother as primary decision maker and maternal education were not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Pediatric health care providers should identify parental practices and reinforce active media mediation strategies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child Rearing
  • Child, Preschool
  • Computers* / statistics & numerical data
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Negotiating*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting*
  • Puerto Rico / epidemiology
  • Television* / statistics & numerical data
  • Video Games* / statistics & numerical data