Associations between rule-based parenting practices and child screen viewing: A cross-sectional study

Prev Med Rep. 2015 Jan 24;2:84-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2015.01.005. eCollection 2015.


Background: Child screen viewing (SV) is positively associated with poor health indicators. Interventions addressing rule-based parenting practices may offer an effective means of limiting SV. This study examined associations between rule-based parenting practices (limit and collaborative rule setting) and SV in 6-8-year old children.

Methods: An online survey of 735 mothers in 2011 assessed: time that children spent engaged in SV activities; and the use of limit and collaborative rule setting. Logistic regression was used to examine the extent to which limit and collaborative rule setting were associated with SV behaviours.

Results: 'Always' setting limits was associated with more TV viewing, computer, smartphone and game-console use and a positive association was found between 'always' setting limits for game-console use and multi-SV (in girls). Associations were stronger in mothers of girls compared to mothers of boys. 'Sometimes' setting limits was associated with more TV viewing. There was no association between 'sometimes' setting limits and computer, game-console or smartphone use. There was a negative association between collaborative rule setting and game-console use in boys.

Conclusions: Limit setting is associated with greater SV. Collaborative rule setting may be effective for managing boys' game-console use. More research is needed to understand rule-based parenting practices.

Keywords: Child; Collaborative rule setting; Limit setting; Multi-screen viewing; Parenting practices; Screen viewing.