Background: The aim of this study is to explore the association between family-related factors and excessive time spent on screen-based activities among school-aged children.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey using the methodology of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study was performed in 2013, with data collected from Slovak (n = 258) and Czech (n = 406) 11- and 15-year-old children. The effects of age, gender, availability of a TV or computer in the bedroom, parental rules on time spent watching TV or working on a computer, parental rules on the content of TV programmes and computer work and watching TV together with parents on excessive time spent with screen-based activities were explored using logistic regression models.
Results: Two-thirds of respondents watch TV or play computer games at least two hours a day. Older children have a 1.80-times higher chance of excessive TV watching (CI: 1.30-2.51) and a 3.91-times higher chance of excessive computer use (CI: 2.82-5.43) in comparison with younger children. More than half of children have a TV (53%) and a computer (73%) available in their bedroom, which increases the chance of excessive TV watching by 1.59 times (CI: 1.17-2.16) and of computer use by 2.25 times (CI: 1.59-3.20). More than half of parents rarely or never apply rules on the length of TV watching (64%) or time spent on computer work (56%), and their children have a 1.76-times higher chance of excessive TV watching (CI: 1.26-2.46) and a 1.50-times greater chance of excessive computer use (CI: 1.07-2.08). A quarter of children reported that they are used to watching TV together with their parents every day, and these have a 1.84-times higher chance of excessive TV watching (1.25-2.70).
Conclusions: Reducing time spent watching TV by applying parental rules or a parental role model might help prevent excessive time spent on screen-based activities.