Parents' Technology Use Can Negatively Impact Children

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Parents' use of digital devices may exacerbate their child's poor behavior.
Parents' use of digital devices may exacerbate their child's poor behavior.

HealthDay News — Parents' use of digital devices may exacerbate their child's poor behavior, according to a study recently published in Pediatric Research.

Brandon T. McDaniel, Ph.D., from the Illinois State University in Normal, and Jenny S. Radesky, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, investigated longitudinal bidirectional associations between parent technology use and child behavior (183 couples with a young child [mean age 3.0 years]). Additionally, the authors sought to understand the association with parental stress. Surveys were conducted at baseline and then at one, three, and six months.

The researchers found that across all time points, greater child externalizing behavior predicted greater technology interference, via greater parenting stress. Further, technology interference often predicted greater externalizing behavior. Associations between child internalizing behavior and technology interference were weaker, with bidirectional associations more consistent for child withdrawal behaviors.

"Our results suggest bidirectional dynamics in which (a) parents, stressed by their child's difficult behavior, may then withdraw from parent-child interactions with technology and (b) this higher technology use during parent-child interactions may influence externalizing and withdrawal behaviors over time," the authors write.

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