Conference Paper

Missing Out on Life: Parental Perceptions of Children's Mobile Technology Use

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Abstract

Mobile devices have become an integral part of everyday life due to their portability. As literature shows, technology use is not only beneficial but also has dark sides, such as addiction. Parents face the need to balance perceived benefits and risks of children’s exposure to mobile technologies. However, no study has uncovered what kind of benefits and concerns parents consider when implementing technology-related rules. We built on qualitative responses of 300 parents of children aged two to thirteen to explore concerns about, and perceived benefits of children’s smartphone and tablet usage, as well as the rules parents have developed regarding technology use. Findings point to concerns regarding children’s development, as well as benefits for both children and parents, and ultimately to new insights about mobile technology mediation. These results provide practical guidance for parents, physicians and mobile industry stakeholders, trying to ensure that children are acting responsibly with mobile technology.

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... However, headlines in the media regularly suggest that screen time causes a host of negative mental and physical health outcomes [13]. Consequently, parents fear that screen use may degrade mental well-being [14], increase aggression [14], and lead their children to become addicted to screen time [14]. Therefore, studies suggest that many parents view screen time as largely negative. ...
... However, headlines in the media regularly suggest that screen time causes a host of negative mental and physical health outcomes [13]. Consequently, parents fear that screen use may degrade mental well-being [14], increase aggression [14], and lead their children to become addicted to screen time [14]. Therefore, studies suggest that many parents view screen time as largely negative. ...
... However, headlines in the media regularly suggest that screen time causes a host of negative mental and physical health outcomes [13]. Consequently, parents fear that screen use may degrade mental well-being [14], increase aggression [14], and lead their children to become addicted to screen time [14]. Therefore, studies suggest that many parents view screen time as largely negative. ...
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Drawing on the rich literature on parental mediation of children's use of digital and mobile media, this paper discusses the findings of an explorative study conducted in Italy, aimed at understanding how families appropriate smartphones in relation to the household's moral economy, their domestication of ICTs and the parenting style adhered to by parents. The aim of the paper is threefold: understand (1) how are social legitimations for or against children's use of smartphones constructed; (2) how do parents make sense of their mediation of children's mobile internet use drawing on different interpretative repertoires; and (3) how children negotiate, resist or evade parental justifications by producing alternative narratives.
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Many children are spending more time with screen media than has been recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. There is evidence that parent television use is associated with higher levels of child television time, but we know little about what predicts children's media use with other technology. Using a nationally representative sample of more than 2300 parents of children ages 0–8, children's time spent with four digital media devices – television, computers, smartphones, and tablet computers – was examined. Results from linear regression analyses indicate across all four platforms that parents' own screen time was strongly associated with child screen time. Further analyses indicate that child screen time use appears to be the result of an interaction between child and parent factors and is highly influenced by parental attitudes. Results suggest that policymakers should consider the family environment as a whole when developing policy to influence children's screen media use at home.
Article
Associations of inadequate sleep with numerous health outcomes among youth necessitate identifying its modifiable determinants. Television (TV) has been associated with sleep curtailment, but little is known about small screens (eg, smartphones), which can be used in bed and emit notifications. Therefore, we examined associations of different screens in sleep environments with sleep duration and perceived insufficient rest or sleep. Participants included 2048 fourth- and seventh-graders participating in the Massachusetts Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration Study in 2012 to 2013. Using linear and log binomial regression, we examined cross-sectional associations of small screens and TVs in sleep environments and screen time with weekday sleep duration and perceived insufficient rest or sleep in the past week. Children who slept near a small screen (compared with never) reported 20.6 fewer minutes of sleep (95% confidence interval [CI], -29.7 to -11.4) and had a higher prevalence of perceived insufficient rest or sleep (prevalence ratio, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.21 to 1.60). Children who slept in a room with a TV (compared with no TV) reported 18.0 fewer minutes of sleep (95% CI, -27.9 to -8.1). TV or DVD viewing and video or computer game playing were associated with both sleep outcomes (P < .01). Some associations were stronger among Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, and older children (P < .05 for heterogeneity). Sleeping near a small screen, sleeping with a TV in the room, and more screen time were associated with shorter sleep durations. Presence of a small screen, but not a TV, in the sleep environment and screen time were associated with perceived insufficient rest or sleep. These findings caution against unrestricted screen access in children's bedrooms. Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Article
The use of interactive screen media such as smartphones and tablets by young children is increasing rapidly. However, research regarding the impact of this portable and instantly accessible source of screen time on learning, behavior, and family dynamics has lagged considerably behind its rate of adoption. Pediatric guidelines specifically regarding mobile device use by young children have not yet been formulated, other than recent suggestions that a limited amount of educational interactive media use may be acceptable for children aged <2 years(1) New guidance is needed because mobile media differs from television in its multiple modalities (eg, videos, games, educational apps), interactive capabilities, and near ubiquity in children's lives. Recommendations for use by infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children are especially crucial, because effects of screen time are potentially more pronounced in this group. The aim of this commentary is to review the existing literature, discuss future research directions, and suggest preliminary guidance for families.
Article
The objective of this study is twofold. First, it aims to investigate the various values users achieve with smartphones, which is a form of user-empowering information technology (IT). The other objective is to introduce a means-end chain approach into IT-user studies. An important attraction of smartphones is their personalized environment, which is mainly provided by varied applications. The user personalization ability implies that users achieve diverse benefits with smartphones; that is, users decide what a smartphone is to them rather than adopt a given product. Thus, investigating what values users pursue with a smartphone (i.e. a value-oriented approach) will give insights into understanding the users. To investigate user values in using smartphones, we conducted a laddering interview with 54 smartphone users and analyzed the data by using a means-end chain approach to understand consumers' hierarchical value structure. This study contributes to value-oriented research on user-empowering IT by revelling how users benefit from smartphones. Furthermore, the study advances value-oriented research by showing what users actually do with smartphones, from concrete activities to abstract values. In addition, a means-end chain approach introduced in the study can be another angle for the investigation of user adoption of technology, in that it can describe IT use contexts and practices, which become an important object of analysis in the information systems research.
Article
The current study examines proactive parenting strategies used to deal with potentially conflicting messages of values presented by agents outside the family. Forty European American mothers with children ages 11 to 16 participate in semistructured, in-depth interviews. Quantitative and qualitative findings reveal that parental strategy choice varies depending on the source of influence parents are combating, with parents using more controlling strategies in response to media influences than peer influences. Findings also suggest that parental cognitions of the degree of threat to values, the child’s susceptibility, and the importance of values are differentially predictive of parental strategy choice as a function of the source of influence. Parental goals have the most consistent influence on strategy choice, with more controlling goals consistently predicting more controlling parenting strategies. The current study adds to our knowledge of parenting in the face of conflicting sources of values and provides important questions for future research.
Article
This study examines the influence of global parental involvement in parental mediation of television viewing. Involvement consists of two dimensions: (a) accessibility to children, and (b) engagement in childrearing and shared activities. This survey of 327 parents of school-aged children demonstrates that parents' attitudes toward television, accessibility, parent-child discussions of personal topics, and physical displays of affection each have significant relations to television mediation. In addition, parents' efforts to control or discipline children show marginally significant influences on mediation.
Article
"A developmental task is a task which arises at or about a certain period of life of the individual, successful achievement of which leads to his happiness and to success with later tasks, while failure leads to unhappiness in the individual, disapproval by the society, and difficulty with later tasks." Developmental tasks may arise from physical maturation, from pressures of cultural processes, or from the emerging personality, usually from the interaction of these factors. Understanding of these tasks is useful in defining educational objectives and timing educational efforts. The developmental tasks of infancy and early childhood, of middle childhood, of adolescence, early adulthood, of middle age, and of later maturity are discussed in terms of their nature, their biological, psychological, and cultural basis, and their educational implications. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This handbook and comprehensive resource represents an effort to review, through the contributions of research experts, the past and potential future impact of the electronic media on growing children in the US and to some extent all over the world. This volume places greatest emphasis on the television medium as it has developed over the past 50 years, but also includes the growing influence of the Internet, video games, and other media. The effects of media on development, and the status of media as a socialization agent are explored in the 4 sub-sections of Part I. Part II concerns the media environment, industry, and the future of the media's technology. Part III looks at policy and advocacy issues. Providing the groundwork for informed policy-making and programming, this reference examines the current state of research and suggests the course for the next generation of researchers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This article describes the theory of parental mediation, which has evolved to consider how parents utilize interpersonal communication to mitigate the negative effects that they believe communication media have on their children. I discuss the strengths and weaknesses of this theory as employed in the sociopsychologically rooted media effects literature as well as sociocultural ethnographic research on family media uses. To account for the emotional work that digital media have introduced into contemporary family life, I review interpersonal communication scholarship based on sociologist A. R. Hochschild's (1977, 1989) work on emotions, and suggest L. Vygotsky's (1978) social development theory as a means of rethinking the role of children's agency in the interactions between parents and children that new media affords. The article concludes by suggesting that in addition to the strategies of active, restrictive, and co-viewing as parental mediation strategies, future research needs to consider the emergent strategy of participatory learning that involves parents and children interacting together with and through digital media.
Article
This article examines the multiplicative combination of belief strength by outcome evaluation in the expectancy–value model of attitudes. Because linear transformation of a belief strength measure results in a nonlinear transformation of its product with outcome evaluation, use of unipolar or bipolar scoring must be empirically justified. Also, the claim that the Belief × Evaluation product fails to explain significant variance in attitudes is found to be baseless. In regression analyses, the main effect of belief strength takes account of the outcome's valence, and the main effect of outcome evaluation incorporates the outcome's perceived likelihood. Simulated data showed that multiplication adds substantially to the prediction of attitudes only when belief and evaluation measures cover the full range of potential scores.
Article
Much ado has been made regarding user acceptance of new information technologies. However, research has been primarily based on cognitive models and little attention has been given to emotions. This paper argues that emotions are important drivers of behaviors and examines how emotions experienced early in the implementation of new IT applications relate to IT use. We develop a framework that classifies emotions into four distinct types: challenge, achievement, loss, and deterrence emotions. The direct and indirect rela tionships between four emotions (excitement, happiness, anger, and anxiety) and IT use were studied through a survey of 249 bank account managers. Our results indicate that excitement was positively related to IT use through task adaptation. Happiness was directly positively related to IT use and, surprisingly, was negatively associated with task adaptation, which is a facilitator of IT use. Anger was not related to IT use directly, but it was positively related to seeking social support, which in turn was positively related to IT use. Finally, anxiety was negatively related to IT use, both directly and indirectly through psychological distancing. Anxiety was also indirectly positively related to IT use through seeking social support, which countered the original negative effect of anxiety. Post hoc ANOVAs were conducted to compare IT usage of different groups of users experiencing similar emotions but relying on different adaptation behaviors. The paper shows that emotions felt by users early in the implementation of a new IT have important effects on IT use. As such, the paper provides a complementary perspective to understanding acceptance and antecedents of IT use. By showing the importance and complexity of the relationships between emotions and IT use, the paper calls for more research on the topic
Article
This article reviews the literature on the role of media in children's physical, behavioral, and cognitive development. Using Bronfenbrenner's ecological perspective, the review focuses on the contexts of childhood that shape the availability and use of the media. The relationship between children's media uses/exposures and their ecological contexts are traced through three areas of the research literature: disordered eating, anti- and prosocial behaviors; and school achievement. While traditional and newer forms of electronic and print media are considered, the review gives particular attention to the ways in which ecological contexts shape the impact of television on children's development. The article offers evidence-based suggestions for parents concerning best practices for children's media use, and concludes with an agenda for future research in the field of children and media.
Article
Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children. Despite the benefits derived from play for both children and parents, time for free play has been markedly reduced for some children. This report addresses a variety of factors that have reduced play, including a hurried lifestyle, changes in family structure, and increased attention to academics and enrichment activities at the expense of recess or free child-centered play. This report offers guidelines on how pediatricians can advocate for children by helping families, school systems, and communities consider how best to ensure that play is protected as they seek the balance in children's lives to create the optimal developmental milieu.
The Common Sense census: Media use by kids age zero to eight
  • V Rideout
Rideout, V.: The Common Sense census: Media use by kids age zero to eight. Common Sense Media (2017)
Families and screen time: Current advice and emerging research
  • A Blum-Ross
  • S Livingstone
Blum-Ross, A., Livingstone, S.: Families and screen time: Current advice and emerging research. Media Policy Project, London School of Economics and Political Science (2016)
World Health Organization: WHO guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5 years of age
World Health Organization: WHO guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5 years of age. World Health Organization, Geneva (2019)