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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Your kids are watching you watch TV

July 26, 2013

A study from the journal Pediatrics published online July 15, 2013, reports an important — but perhaps not surprising — relationship between parents' and children's television viewing. The study set out to determine whether the amount of TV parents watch has an effect on the amount children watch. Using an online survey, more than 1,500 parents and 620 adolescents provided information about their media access and typical weekday and weekend viewing habits (viewing included TV and computer screens).

Parents in this study reported almost 4 hours of daily TV viewing, and 70% had a bedroom television. The average number of TVs in the house was 3.

The findings were statistically significant: Parents who watch more TV have kids who watch more TV. "Heavy viewing" parents are modeling their media behaviors, and their kids are picking up and adopting those behaviors. This has implications for those who work with kids and families, including those who work with families with struggling readers. Less TV time may mean more time for reading and literacy-based activities. As parents work to become "media mentors," our own habits may be a good place to start.

Read the full study here.

See related article Children and Digital Media: Rethinking Parent Roles

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"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." — Emilie Buchwald