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Ambul Pediatr. 2007 Jan-Feb;7(1):18-24.

Is exposure to media intended for preschool children associated with less parent-child shared reading aloud and teaching activities?

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Department of Pediatrics, New York University School of Medicine, Bellevue Hospital Center, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA.



To determine whether electronic media exposure is associated with decreased parental reading and teaching activities in the homes of preschool children.


A convenience sample presenting for well-child care to an urban hospital pediatric clinic was enrolled. Inclusion criteria were: child's age 3 to 5 years and not yet in kindergarten. Electronic media exposure (TV, movies/video, computer/video games) was assessed with a 24-hour recall diary and characterized on the basis of industry ratings. Reading aloud and teaching activities were assessed with the StimQ-Preschool READ and PIDA (Parental Involvement in Developmental Advance) subscales, respectively.


A total of 77 families were assessed. Children were exposed to a mean (SD) of 200.8 (128.9) minutes per day of media, including 78.2 (63.7) minutes of educational young child-oriented, 62.0 (65.6) minutes of noneducational young child-oriented, 14.8 (41.4) minutes of school age/teen-oriented, and 29.2 (56.6) minutes of adult-oriented media, as well as to 16.6 (47.5) minutes of media of unknown type. A total of 79.2% watched 2 or more hours per day. Noneducational young child-oriented exposure was associated with fewer reading (semipartial correlation coefficient [SR] = -0.24, P = .02) and teaching (SR = -0.27, P = .01) activities; similar relationships were not found for other media categories. Children exposed to 2 or more hours of total electronic media per day had 1.6 (95% confidence interval, 0.4-2.9) fewer days per week of reading than children exposed to less than 2 hours (SR = -0.27, P = .01).


This study found an association between increased exposure to noneducational young child-oriented media and decreased teaching and reading activities in the home. This association represents a mechanism by which media exposure could adversely affect development.

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