Event: Undergraduate Research Symposium
Date: May 18, 2019
Location: UCI Student Center
Presenter: Esmeralda Martin
Mentors: Stephanie Reich, Wendy Ochoa
Title: Comparing Latino Moms and Dads: Use of Mobile Screen Technologies for Managing Child Behaviors
Recent research suggests that parents often use smartphones and tablets to manage their children’s behavior but these studies have predominantly focused on middle-class, White mothers. We know very little about how ethnically and socioeconomically diverse parents might also use mobile devices as behavior management tools. Latino parents, especially fathers, have been excluded from previous studies, even though Latinos are more likely to use these technologies than individuals in other ethnic groups. Because the behavior management strategies parents engage in are related to the healthy development of children, it is important to understand if and how diverse parents are incorporating technology into their discipline practices. To address this gap, 40 Latino parents (20 mothers and 20 fathers) of children under 4 years of age, from diverse socioeconomic statuses (SES) were interviewed in English and/or Spanish. Consistent with previous studies, both moms and dads report using mobile screen technologies to distract, calm, reward, or punish their children. In comparing mothers and fathers, more fathers, especially those with low-incomes, used mobile technology to reward or punish their child. When comparing SES, more high-income parents reported using devices to distract and calm rather than to reward or punish. This study, the first to include Latino mothers and fathers, is an important first step in understanding how parents from diverse, socioeconomic backgrounds use mobile screen technology with their children.