Parent-child interactions during joint engagement with touchscreen technology: A comparison of younger versus older toddlers

Journal article


Carr, A. and Dempster, T. 2021. Parent-child interactions during joint engagement with touchscreen technology: A comparison of younger versus older toddlers. Infant Behavior & Development. 64, p. 101587. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2021.101587
AuthorsCarr, A. and Dempster, T.
Abstract

With a plethora of touchscreen apps aimed at young children, parents are receiving mixed messages about the appropriateness of such technology for their toddlers. The American Academy of Pediatrics (2016) advises limited engagement with digital media for this age group and encourages parents to co-engage with children when they are using screens. However, very little is known about parent-child interaction in the context of joint engagement with digital screen media in the toddler years. This study observed 56 toddlers (M = 32.5 months old; 53 % female) and a parent (52 mothers; 4 fathers) performing a 3-minute drawing task on a touchscreen tablet (digital condition), and on an Etch-A-Sketch (non-digital condition) using a repeated measures design. Observations were analysed using global ratings of dyadic interaction, comparing warmth, cooperation and conflict between digital and non-digital conditions. A mixed MANCOVA analysis, controlling for levels of daily usage of touchscreens, revealed lower levels of parent-child cooperation and warmth in the digital condition compared to the non-digital condition. In addition, there was a main effect of age with younger dyads displaying less cooperation overall, particularly in the digital condition where interactions were also less warm. Results suggest that co-engaging with digital technology can be a challenging and potentially emotionally charged context for both parents and young children. Younger toddlers, especially, may be more likely to experience less cooperative interactions when co-engaging with digital technology with a parent. Results are discussed in relation to developmental differences between 2- and 3-year olds, and the need for more nuanced guidance for parents supporting young children’s interaction with digital media.

KeywordsToddlers; Touchscreen technology; Parent-child interaction; Cooperation; Warmth
Year2021
JournalInfant Behavior & Development
Journal citation64, p. 101587
PublisherElsevier
ISSN0163-6383
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2021.101587
Official URLhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016363832100062X?via%3Dihub
Publication dates
Online05 Jun 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted22 May 2021
Deposited06 Mar 2024
Accepted author manuscript
License
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/97434/parent-child-interactions-during-joint-engagement-with-touchscreen-technology-a-comparison-of-younger-versus-older-toddlers

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