Examining parental predictors of young children’s problematic screen media use.

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Master of Arts
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Xue, Xinyi

There is a rapid growth in children’s media use, which raise parents’ concern over time. Nowadays children can access to media at an early stage either actively or passively. Parenting practices behaviours start to intervene children’s screen time in early childhood. Therefore, parents play a critical role in guiding young children’s healthy media use habits. The present project aims to examine: a) to what extent parenting practices are related to parental media monitoring strategies and the reasons why parents allow children to use media, and b) to what extent parenting practice, parental monitoring strategies, and reasons why parents allow children to use media contribute to children’s problematic media use. Ninety-one parents (90.1% mothers; Mage = 34.7, SD = 5.8) with at least one child between the ages of two and five years of age completed a battery of questionnaires assessing the above constructs. Results indicated that authoritarian parenting behaviours were significantly related to using media to calm their child when upset. More restrictive mediation was negatively and significantly associated with using media to calm their child when upset. The results of a hierarchical regression analysis indicated that authoritative parenting practices and less use of media to calm children when upset contribute to fewer problematic media behaviours in young children. This study contributes to our understanding about how parents’ thoughts and behaviours are related to children’s media use at an early stage. This study also showed potential parental factors to prevent children’s problematic media use in early childhood. Therefore, this study can acknowledge and remind parents of certain parental behaviours to reduce children’s problematic media use in early childhood. However, future research is needed to investigate the consistency of these relationships. Future interventions are needed to guide parents through modelling and shaping children’s healthy media use.

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