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Keywords:

  • Computer use;
  • focus groups;
  • preschool children;
  • TV viewing

Summary

Preschoolers already spend significant proportions of their waking hours being sedentary. Screen time (i.e. television/DVD viewing and computer use) has been negatively associated with several health outcomes but interventions aiming to reduce preschoolers' sedentary behaviour are scarce. This study aimed to explore parents' perceptions of their preschool children's screen time. One hundred twenty-two parents of low and medium-high socioeconomic status from six European countries with children between 4 and 6 years old were involved in 24 focus groups. Following a qualitative content analysis, the available information and key findings were centrally analysed. Results showed that children tend to like watching television (TV) and most parents do not express worries about their children's TV viewing time. Education is considered to be the main benefit of watching TV and in general, parents only have informal rules about TV viewing. Computer and active games use are less frequent compared with TV viewing. No univocal results are found about the influence of siblings or friends on children's screen time. Weather conditions and parental habits at home are the most important factors influencing children's screen time. Alternatives for screen activities and information on how to set rules for screen time should be provided to parents to assist them in decreasing their preschool children's screen time.