Abstract Objective The aims of this review were to: (I) synthesise current research on the correlates of screen-viewing among young children (≤ 7 years old); and (II) identify gaps in the study of these correlates. Methods 71 English-language studies published between 1980 and February 2009 were extracted from computerized literature searches and bibliographies of primary studies. Results Variables positively associated with screen-viewing were age, ethnicity, family TV viewing, family factors (maternal depressive symptoms and parental body mass) and media access. Variables negatively associated were socioeconomic indicators, parental rules and safety. Mother's age, mother's employment and presence of a TV set in a child's bedroom were found to be unclearly associated with screen-viewing behaviour. Gender, marital status, father's age and number of TVs were not associated with screen-viewing behaviour. Conclusions Few modifiable variables for future research implications were identified. Findings suggest that research on correlates of screen-viewing among young children is limited. However, there are some clear correlates on which future interventions could be tailored (age, ethnicity, some socioeconomic indicators, family TV viewing, some family factors, parental rules and safety). Subsequent research is needed both to further test some of the correlates and to review the correlates for strength of associations.