Parent technology use and child behavior are intricately connected, according to a new study. Even minor interruptions in parent-child interactions are intricately linked with child behaviour.
Heavy parent digital technology use has been associated with suboptimal parent-child interactions, but no studies examine associations with child behavior. This study by the Institute for Family Studies in the US investigates whether parental problematic technology use is associated with technology-based interruptions in parent-child interactions, termed “technoference,” and whether technoference is associated with child behavior problems.
In one study 65 percent of mothers stated that technology devices interrupted their interactions with their child during playtime sometimes or more often, and 22 percent said this happened at least sometimes even during disciplining their child.
Parent reports from 170 U.S. families (child Mean age = 3.04 years) and actor-partner interdependence modeling showed that maternal and paternal problematic digital technology use predicted greater technoference in mother-child and father-child interactions; then, maternal technoference predicted both mothers’ and fathers’ reports of child externalising and internalising behaviors. Results suggest that technological interruptions are associated with child problem behaviors, but directionality and transactional processes should be examined in future longitudinal studies.
In summary, these findings suggest that parent technology use and child behavior are intricately connected, showing associations between technoference and potential relationship problems in couples and parenting.
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