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Wednesday, March 25th, 2015
Parents choose different techniques based on gender when it comes to raising their child—but they might not always realize it.
Recent research revealed that parents lie more in front of boys and that girls are unintentionally discouraged from pursuing math and science. Now a new study has determined that a parent’s technology choices are also influenced by gender.
PlayScience gathered information for their Parents and Platform Perceptions survey about digital devices and a child’s usage. The survey focused on 501 parents with children between the ages of 2 and 9; parents were asked which devices they owned, which ones their child had access to, when and why their child used them, and their own attitude toward the devices.
The survey showed that parents preferred their children to use tablets—especially children’s tablets—far more than smartphones. Parents perceived tablets to be four times more educational that smartphones, and children’s tablets to be six times more educational than smartphones.
Interestingly, gender differences became most pronounced when it came to child-friendly technology and video game use. Thirty-percent of parents allowed girls to use devices based on how “child-friendly” they were considered, compared to only 17 percent of parents with boys. Parents were also more likely to allow boys to use the device of their choice.
As for video game and smartphone usage, parents were three times more likely to allow them for boys. According to BetaBoston, parents “were also slightly more likely to use technology to manage the behavior of boys, such as getting them to go to bed or calming them down when they’re upset.”
“Ironically, parents have distinct and very different perceptions about devices, even when they have almost identical content,” said J. Alison Bryant, MD, co-chief executive and chief play officer at PlayScience. “This study puts parents on notice to be more attentive to their attitudes and behaviors about their children’s media use.”
What do you think? Are you protective of your daughter‘s technology use? Or are you more likely to let your son choose his favorite device?
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
Image: Boy using tablet via Shutterstock
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Education, New Research, Parenting News, Parents News Now
Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
The amount of screen time you allow your kids can be a point of tension in many households. A new study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior shows that increased digital use may actually affect pre-teens’ ability to read and interpret people’s nonverbal emotional and social cues.
According to The Los Angeles Times, two groups of children were given two tests, a pre- and a post-experiment test that asked them to decipher the emotions of people shown in photographs and videos. Afterwards, one group continued with their normal plugged-in lifestyle, while the other group spent five days outdoors with peers at a wilderness camp where all electronics (cellphones, televisions, and computers) were banned.
Researchers found that the kids who spent time away from technology scored better on their post-experience test, while those who didn’t scored about the same. This finding underscores the worry that many parents have about the negative impact of prolonged exposure to digital media. “Many people are looking at the benefits of digital media in education, and not many are looking at the costs,” said Patricia Greenfield, a senior author of the study from UCLA. “Decreased sensitivity to emotional cues — losing the ability to understand the emotions of other people — is one of the costs. The displacement of in-person social interaction by screen interaction seems to be reducing social skills.”
But the good news is that it only took the kids who attended camp a short amount of time improve their emotional recognition ability. And this new piece of research gives the evidence you need to get kids to turn off technology — at least for a few more hours — and interact with friends and family. “The main thing I hope people take away from this is that it is really important for children to have time for face-to-face socializing,” said Yalda Uhls, another author of the study and a Southern California regional director for Common Sense Media,
Would you ever consider asking your family to give up technology? Our Homeschool Den blogger is doing just that this week!
Plus: If you’re hesitant about how to introduce technology to your little one, we’ll show you how with these media-minding tips.
Photo of children courtesy of Shutterstock.
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New Research, Parenting News, Parents News Now
Monday, February 24th, 2014
Children who engage in a lot of violent video game play and television viewing may be driven by genetics, according to new research conducted with Dutch children and published in the Journal of Communication.
The parents noted how much violent TV programming their children, aged 5-9, viewed, as well as how often they played violent video games. DNA samples collected at the children’s birth were then analyzed to determine whether they have a certain gene variant. The researchers found that children who had the specific variation of the serotonin-transporter gene on average consumed more violent media and displayed more ADHD-related behavior than those who did not have the genetic marker.
The researchers noted that the link is subtle, and other factors, chiefly the parenting environment children are growing up in, may be at play. However, other research has found links between genetic factors and the overall amount of media children are likely to consume. And this new study is the first to isolate the type of media–violent content–being consumed in light of genetic factors. So the scientists called for further research.
“Our results indicate that children’s violent media use is partly influenced by genetic factors. This could mean that children with this gene variant are more likely to seek out stimulating activities, such as violent television viewing and video game playing,” said [researcher Sanne] Nikkelen in a statement. “It is important to study the relationship between media use and ADHD-related behaviors because children who show increased ADHD-related behaviors often face peer and academic difficulties and are at increased risk for substance abuse. Examining factors that may contribute to the development of these behaviors is essential.”
Image: Child playing video game, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, June 15th, 2011
A new study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association associates prolonged television viewing with increased risks of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, joining smoking and lack of exercise as major risk factors for those diseases. Parents can take note of the findings in light of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that kids under 2 watch no television, and older kids watch no more than 1-2 hours each day.
Dr. Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and the study’s co-author, told The Boston Globe that the average American spends 5 hours a day watching television, possibly putting their health at risk in the process:
“There’s something unique about TV watching,” says Hu, that sets it apart from other sedentary activities, like reading a book or tapping out e-mails to friends. “People tend to eat while watching TV,” he says. “They see commercials for junk food and sugary beverages, and it’s part of our culture to eat chips and beer when watching a sporting event….It’s almost completely passive and is probably the best marker of a sedentary lifestyle — the couch potato syndrome.”
For more, read one pediatrician’s insight on whether our kids are watching too much television.
How do you handle television viewing with your kids?
(image via: http://www.fashioncentral.pk/)
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