A questionnaire on the use of television was administered to the parents of 387 children aged between 3 and 10 years. All families owned at least one television set and 57.6% of families owned two or more sets, with one in the child's bedroom in 10.6% of cases. Television was turned on all day in 16% of cases, mostly in families with low level of parental education (P < .01). Television was on at mealtime in 54.5% of cases; 45.2% of children were watching television for between 7 to 16 hours per week, and the heavy viewers belonged to families with low levels of maternal education (P < .05). About one third of children watched television without any interdiction set by their parents. According to age, from 28% to 40% of children watched violence on television. Parents believed that television facilitates learning (65.3%) but were concerned about violence (22.7%) and commercials (7.4%). Finally, 63.3% of parents reported that they would like to obtain more information about television use. According to this survey, many children are watching television without any limits being set by their parents and are witnessing violent scenes at an impressionable and vulnerable age. The pediatrician should include at routine office visits parental guidance on the mediation of television effects through coviewing, content discussion with children, and program selection.
- Received February 16, 1990.
- Accepted August 22, 1990.
- Copyright © 1991 by the American Academy of Pediatrics