Child and Parent Mobile Media Use and Child Development: An Exploratory Study




Baud, Rachel

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Children 2 to 5-years-old are spending increasingly more time on technology, averaging two hours a day on mobile media, such as tablets and smartphones. The evidence, though, concerning how children’s development is impacted by such technology use is relatively limited, specifically regarding smartphones and tablets. The goal of this exploratory study is to determine how the amount of time parents and their children spend on technology, including television, smartphones, and tablets, relates to children’s fine motor, gross motor, and social skills. This mixed-methods study collected quantitative data from parents and observational data from teachers in a childcare center in the Southeastern United States (N = 22 parent-child dyads). Multilevel regression analyses illustrated that children’s time spent watching television was negatively associated with children’s gross motor skills. Additionally, percentage of time parents used mobile media independently (separate from their children), was associated with increased children’s social skills. The results of this study demonstrate that mobile media may not contribute to children’s development compared to other traditional media such as television.



Child development., Parent technology use., Child technology use.