Relationships between preschoolers’ screen-based media use and self-regulation abilities
Screen-based media technologies have become integrated into nearly every aspect of families’ lives. The long-term impact of these technologies on children has only recently started to be investigated. While past developmental research has looked at children’s attention abilities as related to TV viewing, it is yet to be investigated whether and how children’s use of next-generation screen-based media devices (e.g., tablets, smart-phones, etc.) are related to their self-regulation. Given that parents are children’s gateway for using these devices in terms of access, it is crucial to understand the purposes and contexts in which parents allow children to use these technologies. Accordingly, the current study investigated parents’ uses of TV and mobile devices for child-related purposes (e.g., keeping the child occupied) and preschoolers’ abilities to regulate their emotions, behavior and cognitive processes. Parents’ ratings and children’s performance-based scores were obtained for children’s emotion and behavior regulation. Parents also reported their frequency of using TV and mobile devices for child-related purposes. Significant correlations were found between parents’ frequency of using these devices to calm their child when she/he is upset and parent reports of children’s emotion regulation. However, parents’ frequency of using these devices for child-related purposes was not correlated with children’s performance-based scores. Implications of these findings, limitations, and future directions are discussed.