"If there wasn't the technology then I would probably be out everyday": a qualitative study of children's strategies to reduce their screen viewing

Prev Med. 2011 Oct;53(4-5):303-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.08.019. Epub 2011 Aug 23.


Objective: To explore the views of British 10-11 year old children towards reducing their screen-viewing and their screen-viewing reduction strategies.

Method: 10 focus groups were conducted with 55 10-11 year old children (30 girls, 25 boys) in Bristol (UK) in 2010. Data were transcribed and transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: Three main themes were developed: Reaction to Reduction; Reduction: What, when and what else instead?; and Strategies to reduce screen-viewing. Participants reacted largely positively to reducing their screen-viewing although enjoyment, established routines and favourite TV programmes presented barriers. A range of screen-viewing modes were put forward as candidates for reduction and participants believed they would replace screen-viewing with both physically active and non-screen sedentary behaviours. Reduction strategies identified comprised the provision of alternative activities, facilities and after school clubs, peer-led educational interventions, behavioural strategies such as the use of rewards, charts and time limits which involved children's parents and parent-child collaboration. Unexpectedly, participants identified the focus group itself as a means of encouraging self-reflection and initiating change.

Conclusion: Children appeared open to screen-viewing reduction and identified the strategies that they may respond to best. This can inform the development of interventions designed to reduce screen-viewing.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Computers
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / physiology*
  • Computers*
  • England
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Qualitative Research
  • Schools
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Television*
  • Time Factors
  • Video Games*