Do parents care about TV? how parent factors mediate US children’s media exposure and receptive vocabulary

Molly A. Schlesinger*, Rachel M. Flynn, Rebekah A. Richert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Media exposure has the potential to impact young children’s language development, and both parents’ education level and parents’ attitudes about screen media has related to their preschool-aged children’s media exposure. The current study examined the extent to which 2- to 4-year-old children’s media exposure related to their receptive vocabulary, and whether parent education and attitudes about television as beneficial or harmful to learning, or having no impact, mediated relations between child media exposure and receptive vocabulary. Findings suggested that book reading positively and background television negatively relate to receptive vocabulary, whereas exposure to child-centric foreground television programming is unrelated. Parent attitudes significantly mediated positive relations between book reading and receptive vocabulary. In contrast, parent education significantly mediated negative relations between background television exposure and receptive vocabulary. The discussion situates the results in terms of the family system and the rapidly changing children’s media landscape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-414
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Children and Media
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2019


  • Media
  • background television
  • children
  • parents
  • vocabulary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication


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