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Screen media, parenting practices, and the family environment in Australia: a longitudinal study of young children’s media use, lifestyles, and outcomes for healthy weight

journal contribution
posted on 2015-01-07, 00:00 authored by Leonie RutherfordLeonie Rutherford, Judith Brown, Helen Skouteris, Matthew Fuller-TyszkiewiczMatthew Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, M Bittman
Few studies of media use and adiposity explore the influence of parenting on children’s lifestyle behaviors. Screen media access, bedroom television, lack of physical activity, and snacking on energy-dense foods have long been implicated in child overweight. This research used data from the first three waves of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children to investigate, prospectively, the associations between parental practices in early to middle childhood and children’s behaviors and weight in late childhood. A path model was used to investigate whether consistent parenting
predicted setting of boundaries for access to and use of media, and was indirectly associated with children’s lifestyle behaviors that increase the likelihood of healthy weight maintenance. The findings demonstrated that children’s lifestyles pertinent to weight maintenance and media use cluster together and involve both old and newer screen media, but are also predicted by parenting practices and the family environment.



Journal of children and media






22 - 39


Taylor & Francis


Abingdon, England







Grant ID

Australian Research Council LP0991650


This paper belongs to a body of work mapping the links between Australian children's media use - both traditional and digital media - and social outcomes. It uses a population level dataset to trace the implications of media on children's lives, including children and parents from many social backgrounds. Given that discourses of 'risk' are frequently associated with media use, including substantial health risks, this study sought to find parental practices that might be associated with greater 'risk' across the social spectrum.

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article

Copyright notice

2015, Taylor & Francis