Television in Indian adolescents' lives: A member of the family

Suman Verma, Reed W. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To understand the effects of TV on youth, it is important to know the context in which they view it. This paper reports findings from an Experience Sampling study of 100 urban, middle-class Indian families to elucidate the "context of use" for this group. Mothers, fathers, and 8th graders carried alarm watches for 1 week and provided 13,674 reports on their activities and subjective states at random times across waking hours when signalled. TV viewing occupied 10.9% of these adolescents' time (about 12 h per week). Ninety percent of this viewing occurred at home, with majority of it, 73%, done with other family members, including 7% with grandparents, uncles, or aunts. This indicates that TV viewing for these youth is typically a family activity, occurring in a context in which parents' supervision and influence is likely. Adolescents' rates of viewing were correlated with mothers' rates of viewing, with rates for both higher when mothers were unemployed. Adolescents' TV rates were also correlated with fathers' rates and with fathers' type of employment. During TV viewing, adolescents reported lower than average challenge, worry, and paying attention, and higher than average choice, calm, and relaxation. As a whole, the findings indicate that the TV viewing of middle-class Indian youth is typically a relaxed antidote to the stresses of the day that they share with their families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-183
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of youth and adolescence
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Adolescents
  • Leisure
  • Television

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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