Parent-Child Interactions During Traditional and Interactive Media Settings: A Pilot Randomized Control Study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Parent–child interactions are pivotal for children's socioemotional development, yet might suffer with increased attention to screen media, as research has suggested. In response, we hypothesized that parent–child play on a tablet computer, as representative of interactive media, would generate higher‐quality parent–child interactions than toy play or watching TV. We examined the emotional availability of mothers and their 2‐year‐old child during the previous three contexts using a randomized crossover design (n = 22) in a laboratory room. Among other results, mothers were more sensitive and structuring during joint gaming on a tablet than when engaged in toy play or watching TV. In addition, mothers were more hostile toward their children during play with traditional toys than during joint tablet gaming and television co‐viewing. Such findings provide new insights into the impact of new media on parent–child interactions, chiefly by demonstrating that interactive media devices such as tablets can afford growth‐enhancing parent–child interactions.