Potential Strategies to Reduce Television Watching Among Children: What are the Issues for Families?
Hersey, J. C. (2005, December). Potential Strategies to Reduce Television Watching Among Children: What are the Issues for Families?. Presented at American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.
National health objectives and professional groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that children watch no more than two hours of television a day – a recommendation that stems, in part, from concern over the growing problem of childhood obesity. To explore families' reception of the TV viewing guidelines, in-depth, qualitative interviews were conducted in late 2003/early 2004 with 180 parents and their 6- to 13-year-old children in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Virginia. Participants were asked to react to the idea of monitoring and limiting media use as well as specific strategies such as removing the television set from certain areas of the house or eliminating all background television. The data suggest that current television practices within the home far exceed the national recommendation and that family members perceive strong barriers (and some opportunities) to instituting a two hour/day limit on children's viewing. This presentation will describe potential strategies for reducing television time among children and the reactions of parents and children for each strategy. We will conclude by describing key issues that need to be considered when designing interventions or messages to parents about reducing TV time among children.