Parental education, television exposure, and children's early cognitive, language and behavioral development

Michael Kühhirt, Markus Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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The association between television exposure and children's development is subject to controversial debates. Heavy television exposure may be detrimental to children by overstimulating their developing brains. It may also infringe on time that children would otherwise spend on more developmentally beneficial activities or parental interactions. In the present analysis, we use data from the 2004/5 birth cohort of the Growing Up in Scotland study to investigate relations between hours of weekly television measured at the ages two to four and as average over this time span with children's linguistic, cognitive, and behavioral outcomes at age five. Our analysis shows differences in the level and growth of television exposure by parental education. However, we did not find any substantive associations between television exposure and children's cognitive or language ability. We found small associations of television exposure with conduct problems and prosocial behavior, particularly for children of less educated parents. Overall, the results suggest that the impact of television on children's development is less pronounced than often assumed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102391
Number of pages39
JournalSocial Science Research
Early online date16 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2020


  • social stratification
  • television
  • child development
  • Scotland


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