Young children and screen time: Creating a mindful approach to digital technology

Michelle Margaret Neumann

Abstract


To effectively address early childhood screen time concerns raised by parents and policy makers it is important to examine the current home digital environments of young children. The present study draws upon research which examined the home digital environment of Australian parents and their children (aged 2 to 4; N = 69). Parents completed a questionnaire that asked how many digital devices families had at home, how much time children spend on them, and how easily children could operate them. The extent of parental engagement in digital activities and parent views on touch screen tablets were also measured. TVs and touch screen tablets were the most popular digital device among pre-schoolers being used on average for 80 mins and 20 mins per day respectively. Parents rated touch screen tablets as the easiest device for young children to operate. It is suggested that a differentiated screen time policy approach for TVs and tablets is needed to better address screen time concerns. Practical ways to help parents create a mindful approach to digital technology to foster positive screen time interactions is also discussed.

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