TV-viewing ‘integral’ to family life: study (Aust)

The Age (Aust) December 2, 2008

TELEVISION has become a substantial presence in the lives of most Australian children, with research showing that around one-third of three to four-year-olds watch more than nine hours of TV a week. The annual report for the Growing up in Australia project, a long-term study that has been tracking the development of thousands of children since 2004, details the television and technology habits of the nation’s youth. It showed that those who had high levels of television watching — more than 91/2 hours a week — were also more likely than low and moderate TV watchers to be the ones to turn the box on themselves. About 60 per cent of the 3246 three to four-year-olds taking part in the research would watch television for at least 41/2 hours each week.

‘It’s showing that TV is just an integral part of family life,’ Australian Institute of Family Studies researcher Diana Smart said. ‘The thing that this does is make us aware of keeping an eye on how much television children are watching and making sure that . . . they’re getting those activities like reading with parents . . . and finding time for . . . physical activities.’