Screen-addicted preschoolers are now ignoring their parents too
If you are facing the situation at home where your little one -- engaged in playing video games on smartphone or watching favourite cartoons on TV -- ignores your call to pick up a glass of water or switch off that AC, you are not alone.
According to the researchers, communication between mother-child is reducing as not just teenagers but even preschoolers hooked to smartphones, video games and television are not listening if asked a question or to do a household chore.
The findings also showed that children of mothers with graduate degrees had less electronic media exposure than kids of mothers with high school degrees or some college courses.
“The kids whose mothers had advanced degrees often watched educational programmes. In addition, these highly educated mothers were more likely than other mothers to discuss media with their children,” said lead study author Nicholas Waters from University of Michigan in the US.
Unlike previous research that has relied on self-reports by parents tracking their children’s media usage, the team used enhanced audio equipment to track the home environment of preschoolers as they interacted with parents.
They examined 44 families and the recordings averaged nearly 10 hours daily.
The recordings documented the format of media used, duration and communication between the mother and child.
Researchers also examined demographic differences in media use and mother-child communication about media.
“Importantly, children of mothers with less than a graduate degree were exposed to media without any dialogue related to the media content for the vast majority of the time,” added study co-author Sarah Domoff.
This is important, she said, because parents’ “active mediation” of television and other types of media may mitigate risks associated with media exposure.
The study was scheduled to be presented at the annual association for psychological science conference in Chicago on May 29.