Event: Undergraduate Research Symposium
Date: May 18, 2019
Location: UCI Student Center
Presenter: Audrey Mosley
Mentors: Stephanie Reich, Wendy Ochoa
Title: The Influence of Mobile Screen Technologies on Children’s Behaviors and Parent-Child Interactions
The creation of smartphones and tablets sparked the existence of normalized mobile device usage in everyday life. Because the rise of technology use is fairly new, especially in social settings, many questions surrounding its influence on human interaction exist. Recent research suggests that a majority of U.S. households own or have access to mobile screen technologies; however, research is limited regarding the association between caregiver use of mobile screen technologies and children’s behavior. To address this gap in the literature, parent-child dyads with children ranging from ages 0–4 were observed in public settings using systematic naturalistic observations. Results showed that caregiver use of a mobile screen device, such as a smartphone or tablet, was negatively correlated with the number of positive emotions children displayed. Furthermore, although there were very few instances of children displaying negative emotions (8/718 = 1%), no statistically significant association was found between caregiver use of mobile screen device and children’s negative emotions. Nevertheless, the majority of instances when the children did display negative emotions was when the caregiver was using the mobile screen device (62%). Similarly, no statistical significant association was found between caregiver use of a device and their child bidding for their attention. These findings suggest that caregivers’ use of smartphones and tablets influences their children’s overt positive emotions; therefore, future efforts could be made to bring awareness to parents about their technological usage.