Demographics and talking to kids about TV

In a random state-wide phone survey of parents of children ages 2-17, a 1999 study sought to identify demographic predictors of various ways parents interact with their kids about TV.  The study concluded that demographic variables are largely not especially predictive of any one type of mediation, although a few results suggested otherwise.  For example, parents with more income and more children were more likely to endorse TV content.  Also, less educated parents were more likely to co-view (the simple act of watching TV together), suggesting that they had more positive attitudes about television.  Higher income predicted less positive attitudes about using television as a babysitter, though having more children was positively related to more positive attitudes about using TV as a babysitter.  Lastly, higher education predicted more skepticism toward television advertising as realistic.  In summary, the authors concluded that we need to “look beyond demographic correlates to cultural, situational and individual differences” when trying to understand the relationship between parenting and television (p. 429).

Here is the citation: Austin, E.W., Knaus, C. & Meneguelli, A. (1997). Who talks how to their kids about TV: A clarification of demographic correlates of parental mediation patterns. Communication Research Reports, 14, 418-430.

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