Log in

TV Still the Most Common Babysitter

24 Jul, 2002 By: Hive News

More than half of American parents seem happy to sit their children in front of the television to get them out of their hair, according to a new survey of parents conducted by life stage marketing analyst firm Madison Direct Marketing.

Among survey respondents, 63 percent report they put on a favorite TV show or movie when they want their kids to stay busy for a while without needing parental attention. TV was second only to toys (67 percent) and handily beat out other tactics like books and coloring books (33 percent), sending them outside to play (15 percent) and asking a neighbor to babysit (5 percent).

Value judgments on child care aside, the findings bode well for the video industry and reinforce the idea of frequent renter programs aimed at younger viewers.

Forty-five percent of parents report their kids are watching one to two hours per of television per day, while 35 percent report their kids watching three or more hours per day. A quarter of that latter group, or 9 percent of parents, report their children watching at least five hours of television per day.

"We have 20 percent of parents wishing their kids watched less television, but with cooking, cleaning, finances and other household tasks requiring parents to have time alone, it appears the television is often the easiest, quickest fix to occupying the kids," says Madison president Chris Hulse. "It's at least encouraging to see a majority of parents are still finding time to play with their children."

While the adults in these households report watching more TV than their kids, with 35 percent watching one to two hours per day and 62 percent watching at least three hours per day, 70 percent do report playing with the kids as a frequent leisure activity.

But it would seem children might be destined to follow their parents' lead, with adults' frequent leisure activities favoring the sedentary: watching TV (84 percent), watching movies (44 percent), surfing the Internet (71 percent) -- over the active: exercise (29 percent), gardening (26 percent).

Results are based on responses from 290 households, 96 percent of which reported children living in the house.

Add Comment