Background: Children's screen viewing (SV) is associated with higher levels of childhood obesity. Many children exceed the American Academy of Pediatrics guideline of 2 hours of television (TV) per day. There is limited information about how parenting styles and parental self-efficacy to limit child screen time are associated with children's SV. This study examined whether parenting styles were associated with the SV of young children and whether any effects were mediated by parental self-efficacy to limit screen time.
Methods: Data were from a cross-sectional survey conducted in 2013. Child and parent SV were reported by a parent, who also provided information about their parenting practices and self-efficacy to restrict SV. A four-step regression method examined whether parenting styles were associated with the SV of young children. Mediation by parental self-efficacy to limit screen time was examined using indirect effects.
Results: On a weekday, 90% of children watched TV for <2 hours per day, decreasing to 55% for boys and 58% for girls at weekends. At the weekend, 75% of children used a personal computer at home, compared with 61% during the week. Self-reported parental control, but not nurturance, was associated with children's TV viewing. Parental self-efficacy to limit screen time was independently associated with child weekday TV viewing and mediated associations between parental control and SV.
Conclusions: Parental control was associated with lower levels of SV among 5- to 6-year-old children. This association was partially mediated by parental self-efficacy to limit screen time. The development of strategies to increase parental self-efficacy to limit screen-time may be useful.