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Majority of parents don't actively limit children's media time

WINSTON-SALEM Parents' active involvement in what their children are exposed to in the media can reduce negative effects associated with that exposure. However, according to new research at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, the majority of parents do not often use active strategies to limit media time or content. Results from a survey of 1,800 parents nationwide were presented today at the Pediatric Academic Society annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Shari Barkin, M.D., a pediatrician at Wake Forest Baptist's Brenner Children's Hospital, and her colleagues completed research asking 1,800 parents across the country about the number of hours their children watch media, how often they restrict the time or content of their child's media usage, discuss program content with their children, and allow unlimited media viewing in their home. Media was defined as TV, videos, computer games, and electronic hand-held devices.

The majority (59 percent) of parents, with children aged 2 to 11, used a combination of all approaches. The remaining parents indicated that they preferred to use one specific approach, according to the survey. Twenty-three percent of parents used restrictive viewing only, 11 percent used instructive styles only and 7 percent used unlimited media viewing as their strategy. More than a third of families (36 percent) reported having a television in their child's bedroom but did not associate this with unlimited media exposure, Barkin said.

The results also showed that 72 percent of parents worry about media use and confirmed that the more parents were concerned about the negative effects of the media, the more likely they were to limit or discuss the content of TV programs with their children.

Age of the child also factored into what type of strategy was used to help monitor their child's media usage. "Not surprisingly, parents reported using more restrictive strategies in younger children and a more multi-fa
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Contact: Rae Bush
rbush@wfubmc.edu
336-716-6878
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
15-May-2005


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