Screen-related sedentary behaviors: children's and parents' attitudes, motivations, and practices

J Nutr Educ Behav. Jan-Feb 2010;42(1):17-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2008.11.011. Epub 2009 Nov 14.


Objective: To investigate school-aged children's and parents' attitudes, social influences, and intentions toward excessive screen-related sedentary behavior (S-RSB).

Design: A cross-sectional study using a survey methodology.

Setting: Elementary schools in London, Ontario, Canada.

Participants: All grades 5 and 6 students, their parents, and their teachers in the participating schools were invited to voluntarily participate; 508 student-parent pairs completed the surveys.

Main outcome measure: Children's screen-related behaviors.

Analysis: Data were analyzed using the Independent Student t test to compare differences of continuous variables and the chi-square test to test for differences of categorical variables.

Results: Children spent 3.3 +/- 0.15 (standard error) hours per day engaged in screen-related activities. Entertainment, spending time with family, and boredom were cited as the top 3 reasons for television viewing and video game playing. Compared to "low-screen users" (ie, < 2 hours/day), "high-screen users" (ie, >or= 2 hours/day) had a less negative attitude toward excessive S-RSB and perceived loosened parental rules on screen use. Parents of high-screen users had a less negative attitude toward children's S-RSB, had fewer rules about their children's screen use, and were more likely to be sedentary themselves.

Conclusions and implications: Intervention strategies aimed at reducing S-RSB should involve both parents and children and should focus on fostering behavioral changes and promoting parental role modeling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Ontario
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Play and Playthings / psychology*
  • Schools
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Television
  • Video Games / psychology
  • Video Games / statistics & numerical data