Are Screen Devices Soothing Children or Soothing Parents?

Carla Rosa
March 28, 2023
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The study surveyed 4,907 parents of preschool children in China to explore how different screen devices (TV, tablet, computer) and paper-based books impact parental efficacy and home literacy practices. It found that parents with low efficacy were more likely to provide all three types of screen devices to their children, with TV and tablets negatively affecting home literacy practices. In contrast, computers and books complemented home literacy practices.

Latent profile analysis revealed that parents allowing high TV or tablet use had poorer home literacy practices. Parents from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who restricted TV and tablet use but encouraged computer use reported average efficacy levels and home literacy practices. Parents who felt efficacious provided more paper-based picture books, leading to optimal home literacy practices.

The study suggests that parents' lack of efficacy might drive increased TV and tablet usage and reduced home literacy practices, possibly stemming from chronic parenting anxiety. The findings emphasize the importance of helping parents manage anxiety and harness the educational potential of modern media technology.

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Carla Rosa

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