Recreational screen media use among Danish children aged 6–11 years: influence of parental screen media habits and attitudes

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Little is known about the influence of parents’ screen media habits and attitudes towards screen media on children’s screen use. We investigated associations of parental screen use, their smartphone addiction and screen media attitudes, with children’s recreational screen use.

This study was based on a population-based cross-sectional survey sent between May 2019 and November 2020 to a random sample of 6820 Danish parent–child dyads who answered questions regarding their screen media habits. Children were 6–11 years of age and had to reside with the parent. Multivariable adjusted regression analyses were conducted (in October 2021) separately for screen media use on weekdays and weekend days.

The analyses included 5437 parents (41.0 years, 67.6% girls) and 5437 children (8.9 years, 48.2% girls). The adjusted relative odds of excessive amounts of screen use of children (>3 hours/weekday and >4 hours/weekend day) was 5.8 (95% confidence interval (CI) 4.6; 7.3) on weekdays and 7.2 (95% CI 5.9; 8.8) on weekend days comparing the fourth and first quartile of parental screen use. Children of parents in the fourth quartile of parental screen use had 2.1 (95% CI 1.7; 2.5) and 2.5 (95% CI 2.2; 3.0) greater odds of screen use before bedtime on all week and weekend days, respectively. Children of parents who had a positive attitude towards their child’s screen use or were at high risk of smartphone addiction had significantly higher screen use and more frequent problematic screen use.

Parent’s screen media habits and attitudes were strongly associated with their children’s recreational screen use.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16. Jun 2022


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