S.M.A.R.T. (Student Media Awareness to Reduce Television)

Placement on the Continuum of Evidence Unclear + Download icon Download PDF
Target Population: 
Obesity, Sedentary Behavior
Target Audience 

This program is for children who are in 3rd and 4th grade.


The S.M.A.R.T. (Student Media Awareness to Reduce Television) program, a school-based program, is designed to reduce children's screen time in an effort to improve their health and health-related behaviors.


Results from a randomized controlled trial showed that children participating in the program experienced improvements in body mass index (BMI), waist size, and body fatness in comparison to the control group.  Children in the program, and their parents and siblings, reported significantly less screen time each week compared to control group participants.   Longer-term follow-up with more diverse samples are needed to fully evaluate the effectiveness of this program.


The S.M.A.R.T. program intends to reduce screen time (i.e., TV, videos/DVDs, and computer games) for participants.  The curriculum lessons focus on the following goals:

  • Increase children's awareness of the impact the amount of screen time can have on their lives and motivate them to reconsider the time they spend in front of a screen.
  • Develop the skills necessary to reduce screen time and discover the benefits associated with that behavior by implementing a 10-day TV Turnoff.  This is a period of abstinence from any non-school or work-related screen time.
  • Build, utilize, and maintain skills needed to keep screen time under 7 hours per week.

For research studies conducted on the program, each household received an electronic TV time manager that locked onto the power plug of the TV set.  The TV monitor device monitored viewing time for each household member through use of personal identification codes, which encouraged participants to mindfully select their screen time choices to remain within their weekly budget.

Previous Use 

More than 1,000 children have participated in formal and informal research studies involving this program.  The extent to which the program has been used outside of these research studies is unknown.


Training from the Stanford Health Promotion Resource Center is no longer available.


Considerations for implementing this program include acquiring buy-in from teachers, participants, and participants' families; finding time to implement the curriculum lessons and activities within an existing schedule; and devising a way to monitor screen time, if a monitor device is unavailable.

The Clearinghouse can help address these considerations. Please call 1-877-382-9185 or email Clearinghouse@psu.edu


If you are interested in implementing S.M.A.R.T., the Clearinghouse is interested in helping you!
Please call 1-877-382-9185 or email Clearinghouse@psu.edu


The curriculum includes 18 30- to 50-minute lessons that are implemented over the course of 1 school year.  The television turnoff lasts for 10 consecutive days.


The curriculum, teachers manual, and CD-Rom can be purchased together for $199.  Discounts are available when more than 10 are purchased.

Evaluation Plan 

To move the S.M.A.R.T. program to the Promising category on the Clearinghouse Continuum of Evidence, at least one evaluation should be performed demonstrating positive effects lasting at least six months from program completion.

The Clearinghouse can help you develop an evaluation plan to ensure the program components are meeting your goals. Please call 1-877-382-9185 or email Clearinghouse@psu.edu


Contact the Clearinghouse with any questions regarding this program.
Phone: 1-877-382-9185 Email: Clearinghouse@psu.edu

You may also contact the Stanford Prevention Research Center by mail 211 Quarry Road, Suite 229, Stanford, CA 94305-5705, phone 650-723-0003, or visit http://notv.stanford.edu/

References - Used For Placement 

Robinson, T. N.  (1999).  Reducing children’s television viewing to prevent obesity:  A randomized controlled trial.  Journal of the American Medical Association, 282, 1561-1567.

Robinson, T. N., & Borzekowski, D. L. G.  (2006).  Effects of the SMART classroom curriculum to reduce child and family screen time. Journal of Communication, 56, 1-26.

References - Not Used For Placement - Other 

Robinson, T. N., Saphir, M. N., Kraemer, H. C., Varady, A., & Haydel, K. F. (2001). Effects of reducing television viewing on children’s requests for toys: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 22, 179-184.

*Resources and associated costs reflect those identified at the time of fact sheet publication.