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BMC Obes. 2018 Dec 3;5:37. doi: 10.1186/s40608-018-0214-4. eCollection 2018.

Mothers' and fathers' media parenting practices associated with young children's screen-time: a cross-sectional study.

Author information

1
1Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON Canada.
2
2Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON Canada.
3
3Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON Canada.

Abstract

Background:

A major contributor to the growing obesity crisis is screen based sedentary behaviour among young children. Media parenting practices may be an important determinant of children's screen time, however published research exploring the influence of parenting practices on children's screen time has mainly focused on children's television use and the parenting practices of the mother. This study examined children's use of mobile media devices (as well as television use) and included the role of fathers in media parenting, allowing a fuller understanding of the role mothers' and fathers' media parenting practices play on children's screen time in the current media environment.

Methods:

Secondary data analysis was conducted using data from 62 children between 1.5 and 5 years of age and their parents (39 mothers, 25 fathers), who were part of the Guelph Family Health Study - phase 2 pilot. Linear regression using generalized estimating equations was used to examine associations between media parenting practices and children's weekday and weekend screen-time.

Results:

Mothers' screen-time modeling, mealtime screen use, and use of screens to control behaviour were positively associated with children's weekday screen-time. Mothers' practices of monitoring screen-time and limiting screen-time were inversely associated with children's weekday screen-time. Fathers' mealtime screen use was positively associated with children's weekday screen-time; whereas fathers' monitoring screen-time and limiting setting were inversely associated with children's weekday screen-time. Fathers' modeling and use of screens to control behaviour was not significantly associated with children's weekday screen time. While most associations were similar for weekend day screen time there were a few differences: Fathers' use of screens to control behaviour was positively associated with children's weekend screen-time. Mothers' and fathers' modeling and mealtime screen use were not significantly associated with children's weekend screen time.

Conclusion:

Mothers' and fathers' media parenting practices were associated with children's screen-time. Interventions aimed at reducing children's screen-time should address both mothers' and fathers' media parenting practices.

KEYWORDS:

Childhood obesity; Parenting practices; Screen time; Sedentary behaviour

Conflict of interest statement

The study was approved by the University of Guelph Research Ethics Board (REB14AP008). Signed consent was obtained from all participants involved with the GFHS.Not applicable.The authors declare that they have no competing interests.Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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