HOUSEHOLD RULES AND SCREEN-BASED EQUIPMENT
The collection of information on screen-based items located in the bedroom included TVs, computers, game consoles, as well as associated devices such as DVD/Blu-ray players and digital video recorders. Portable items such as handheld devices or laptops that are used only some of the time in the child/young person’s bedroom were also included.
The collection of information pertaining to household rules involved respondents identifying the frequency of situations such as supervision while watching TV, using the internet or playing electronic games, doing homework before watching TV or playing game consoles, turning the TV off for meals, and time restrictions on watching TV. The questions did not specifically ask about whether rules were in place, but instead reflected household practices in place.
Information was collected for children aged 2 to 17 years in non-remote areas in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NATSINPAS).
The 2-4 years and 5-17 years non-remote area physical activity modules in NATSINPAS conclude with a series of questions on the home environment of the child.
Where children (6-14 years) have been involved with answering the questions around physical activity and sedentary screen-based questions, the questions are now directed back at the proxy. Questions remain directed at 15-17 year olds if they are answering the whole survey without a proxy.
These questions included access to and rules around screen-based activities, including:
- screen-based items in the bedroom
- whether homework is done before TV/game consoles are watched or played (5-17 years only)
- whether the TV is off during meal times
- how often the child is supervised when watching TV
- how often the child is supervised on the internet or when playing electronic games
- how often the time watching TV or using the computer is restricted.
Portable items used in the bedroom, even if not located there all of the time, were to be included in screen-based items in the bedroom. The screen-based items collected were:
- DVD/Blu-ray player
- digital video recorder
- computer (including desktop or laptop)
- video game console.
Other screen-based items, such as phones, were not collected.
A 'Not applicable' category was included in the home environment questions for situations where there was no access to the equipment - for example, the television is always off during meal times because there is either no television in the household or no television in the room where meals are eaten.
The data items and related output categories for this topic are available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads
page of this product.
Points to be considered in interpreting data for this topic include the following:
- There has been an increasing emphasis on the importance of restricting screen-based activities for children in recent years. This may have introduced bias with the reporting of socially desirable responses in some instances in regard to the home environment.
- The concept of “how often” household rules around screen based activity usage are applied is subjective and open to individual interpretation. Thus households with similar strategies on screen-based activity usage may report different frequencies for how often these strategies are implemented.
- Although screen-based equipment may be in the room of a child, this does not necessarily identify that the child is allowed to use it where they share the bedroom with other persons.
Comparability with other surveys
The specific questions used for this topic have not previously been used in an ABS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population survey.
Several surveys, both within Australia and internationally, have collected similar data on household rules and access to screen-based equipment. For the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children has collected data on whether there are family rules about television. While the concepts collected in other surveys may be similar, the questions asked are not directly comparable (other than the 2011-12 Australian Health Survey, see below for details) and therefore any data comparisons with the AATSIHS should be done with caution.
Comparability with 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS)
Household rules and screen-based equipment data were not collected in the 2004-05 NATSIHS. Therefore no comparisons are possible.
Comparability with 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS)
Household rules and screen-based equipment data were not collected in the 2008 NATSISS. Therefore no comparisons are possible.
Comparability with 2011-12 Australian Health Survey (AHS)
The household rules and screen-based equipment data are considered directly comparable between the 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS) and the 2012-13 NATSINPAS.
Household rules and screen-based equipment data were not collected in 2012-13 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) or 2011-12 National Health Survey (NHS).