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Dev Psychol. 1999 Jul;35(4):912-25.

How young children spend their time: television and other activities.

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Department of Human Ecology, University of Texas at Austin, 78712-1097, USA.


Time-use diaries were collected over a 3-year period for 2 cohorts of 2- and 4-year-old children. TV viewing declined with age. Time spent in reading and educational activities increased with age on weekdays but declined on weekends. Time-use patterns were sex-stereotyped, and sex differences increased with age. As individuals' time in educational activities, social interaction, and video games increased, their time watching entertainment TV declined, but time spent playing covaried positively with entertainment TV. Educational TV viewing was not related to time spent in non-TV activities. Maternal education and home environment quality predicted frequent viewing of educational TV programs and infrequent viewing of entertainment TV. The results do not support a simple displacement hypothesis; the relations of TV viewing to other activities depend on the program content, the nature of the competing activity, and the environmental context.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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