To examine the associations of demographics, rules associated with television-viewing, and physical activity with daily screen time (including television, non–school-related computer use, and video games) in children and adolescents.


We analyzed data from a telephone survey of 7415 youth aged 9 to 15 years from the Youth Media Campaign Longitudinal Survey. We used logistic regression models to calculate odds of exceeding recommended screen-time limits (>120 minutes/day) according to demographics, rules, and physical activity.


Odds that children would exceed recommended screen-time limits were positively associated with age and black race/ethnicity and negatively associated with income level. Children and adolescents who reported that they really agreed that their parents had rules about time spent watching television and playing video games were less likely to exceed recommended limits than those who strongly disagreed that their parents had rules. Similarly, when parents reported always or very often having limits on television watching (versus rarely or never) and when parents correctly identified the recommended limits, children were less likely to exceed recommended limits. Children whose parents reported consistent limits and who themselves reported consistent rules about time spent watching television had the lowest prevalence of exceeding recommended limits. Odds that children would exceed recommended limits decreased as physical activity in the previous week increased.


Parental rules regarding screen time and participation in physical activity play a role in the amount of screen time among children and adolescents. Programs that encourage limit-setting by parents and promote physical activity may reduce screen time among youth.

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