Media Keeps Preschoolers From Communicating With Their Parents

By Elizabeth Anderson / May 30, 2016 05:13 AM EDT

Even preschoolers nowadays are being sucked in the media revolution and this is keeping them from communicating with their parents while using media, a new study from the University of Michigan has revealed. The researchers used enhanced audio equipment to observe the home environment of preschoolers and their interaction with their parents in 2010 and 2011.

The researchers found that children aged three and five who used media such as television, video games and mobile devices had little dialogue or conversation with their mothers when they were using them, PsychCentral reported. The study involved 44 families whose homes were put on record for an average of 10 hours a day.

The enhanced audio equipment picked up media signals which were later on codified for media use. The researchers also transcribed media-related talk at the 44 homes.

Mother's Educational Attainment Played Difference

The researchers found that preschoolers whose mothers had graduate degrees had less electronic media exposure than preschoolers who had mothers with high school and/or some college courses, as per EurekAlert.  Preschoolers whose mothers had advanced degrees also watched educational programs frequently.

Nicholas Waters, the study's lead author, said that the mothers who were highly educated were more prone to discussing media with their preschoolers compared to the other mothers. Waters is a survey specialist at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.

Parent Mediation Important

"Importantly, children of mothers with less than a graduate degree were exposed to media without any dialogue related to the media content for the vast majority of the time," said study co-author Sarah Domoff. Domoff is a research fellow with the U-M Center for Human Growth and Development.

According to Eurasia Review, Domoff said that the "active mediation" of parents in regards to the use of media by their children can alleviate risks of media exposure. Further studies may include the interactions of fathers with their children as the children use media.

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Tags : toddler, communication, parents, media, university of michigan, mother

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