Children and media exposure

Cláudia Patraquim, Sara Ferreira, Hélder Martins, Helena Mourão, Paula Gomes, Sofia Martins


Background: Children and adolescents spend several hours watching television, playing video games and surfing the internet. Benefits of media are vast, but potential risks exist.
Objectives: Determine the patterns of media exposure in a population of children and adolescents.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional, observational and analytic study. We selected a convenience sample from children and adolescents between 4 months and 18 years who were observed in a primary healthcare center and a questionnaire was applied to the caregivers.
Results: One hundred and twenty six questionnaires were obtained. A significant percentage of children and adolescents were exposed to more than two hours a day of screen time at weekdays and weekend: television - 15,9% and 50,4%, video games - 6,3% and 15,9% and computer - 10,3% and 22,2%, respectively. A considerable number of children under two years of age is exposed to one hour or more of television a day at weekdays (21,4%) and weekend (32,1%). Sixty-nine point six percent of caregivers reported using television or tablet at mealtimes. The presence of media in the bedroom was associated with greater exposure to television at weekdays (p=0,026 and p=0,005, respectively). Habits of caregivers related to the media were associated with increased exposure of children and adolescents to television at weekend (p=0,004). Screen time seemed to be significantly associated with reduced sleep duration.
Conclusions: Exposure to media is growing and occurs at increasingly earlier ages. This issue should be addressed in medical appointments, in order to advise parents.


Adolescents; children; media

Full Text:

PDF (Português)


Pereira M, Costa C, Passadouro R, Spencer B. Como dormem as nossas crianças? Hábitos de televisão e perturbações de sono na idade escolar. Revista Saúde Infantil 2007; 29: 53-9.

Mendes P, Fernandes A. A Criança e a Televisão. Acta Pediatr Port 2003; 34:101-4.

American Academy of Pediatrics, Council on Communications and Media. Media Education. Pediatrics 2010; 126:1012-7.

American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Public Education. Children, Adolescents, and Television. Pediatrics 2001; 107: 423-6.

Strasburger VC, Jordan AB, Donnerstein E. Health effects of media on children and adolescents. Pediatrics 2010; 125:756-67.

American Academy of Pediatrics, Council on Communications and Media. Policy Statement-Media Violence. Pediatrics 2009; 124:1495-503.

Robinson T, Chen H, Killen J. Television and Music Video Exposure and Risk of Adolescent Alcohol Use. Pediatrics 1998; 102:1-6.

Strasburger VC. American Academy of Pediatrics. Council on Communications and Media. Policy statement - Children, adolescents, substance abuse and the media. Pediatrics 2010; 126:791-9.

Stamatakis E, Coombs N, Jago R, Gama A, Mourão I, Nogueira H, et al. Associations between indicators of screen time and adiposity indices in Portuguese children. Prev Med 2013; 56:299–303.

Hale L, Guan S. Screen time and sleep among school-aged children and adolescents: A systematic literature review. Sleep Medicine Reviews 2015; 21:50-8.

Ahn YM, Williamson AA, Seo HJ, Sadeh A, Mindell JA. Sleep patterns among South Korean Infants and Toddlers: Global Comparison. J Korean Med Sci 2016; 31:261-9.

Cespedes EM, Gillman MW, Kleinman K, Rifas-Shiman SL, Redline S, Taveras EM. Television Viewing, Bedroom Television, and Sleep Duration From Infancy to Mid-Childhood. Pediatrics 2014;133:e1163-e1171. doi:10.1542/peds.2013-3998.

Council on Communications and Media, Brown A. Media Use by Children Younger Than 2 Years. Pediatrics 2011; 128:1040-5.

Lampard A, Jurkowski J, Davison K. Social-Cognitive Predictors of Low-Income Parents’ Restriction of Screen Time Among Preschool-Aged Children. Health Educ Behav 2012; 40:526-30.

Bleakley A, Piotrowski J, Hennessy M, Jordan M. Predictors of parents’ intention to limit children’s television Viewing. J Public Health (Oxf) 2013; 35:525-32.

Carson V, Janssen I. Volume, patterns, and types of sedentary behavior and cardio-metabolic health in children and adolescents: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health 2011; 11:274.

Monteiro MB. Meios de Comunicação Social e construção da realidade social: crescer com a violência televisiva. In: Stress e Violência na Criança e no Jovem. Lisboa: João Gomes-Pedro ed.; 1999:153-74.

Jago R, Stamatakis E, Gama A, Carvalhal IM, Nogueira H, Rosado V, et al. Parent and child screen-viewing time and home media environment. Am J Prev Med. 2012; 43: 150-8.

Mukherjee SB, Gupta Y, Aneja S. Study of Television Viewing Habits in Children. Indian J Pediatr 2014. doi:10.1007/s12098-014-1398-3.

Funk JB, Brouwer J, Curtiss K, McBroom E. Parents of Preschoolers: Expert Media Recommendations and Ratings Knowledge, Media-Effects Beliefs, and Monitoring Practices. Pediatrics 2009; 123:981-8. doi: 10.1542/peds.2008-1543.

Zimmerman FJ, Christakis DA, Meltzoff AN. Television and DVD/Video Viewing in Children Younger than 2 years. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2007;161:473-9.

Bleakley A, Jordan AB, Hennessy M. The Relationship Between Parents’ and Children’s Television Viewing. Pediatrics 2013; 132:e364-e371. doi:10.1542/peds.2012-3415.

Karaagac AT. Undesirable Effects of Media on Children: Why Limitations is Necessary?. Indian Pediatrics 2015; 52:469-471.

Robinson S, Daly RM, Ridgers ND, Salmon J. Screen-Based Behaviors of Children and Cardiovascular Risk Factors. J Pediatr 2015; 167:1239-45.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Journal indexed in