Using an online questionnaire among 516 Dutch parents (children between 1 and 12 years; 68% mothers, 18% single parents) this study explored whether parents see media devices as useful tools in childrearing, and how parent-family characteristics and parental perceptions on parenting, media effects and child development predict the acceptance of instrumental media use. Findings revealed that parents saw media as a) a distractor providing the parent relief in childrearing, b) a babysitter when the parent is unavailable, and c) a tool to modify children’s behavior. Whereas 20 to 30 percent found media useful as a modifier or babysitter, only about 10 percent perceived media helpful as a distractor. Acceptance of the different types of instrumental media use depended more on parental perceptions than on parent-family variables: i.e., instrumental use of media was primarily endorsed by parents who are less confident about their parenting, have less support from a partner, expect positive effects from the media, and report health and conduct problems in their children.

Child developmental problems, Media as babysitter, Media as behavior modifier, Parental competence, Parental mediation
dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1281-3, hdl.handle.net/1765/112336
Journal of Child and Family Studies

Nikken, P. (2018). Parents’ Instrumental use of Media in Childrearing: Relationships with Confidence in Parenting, and Health and Conduct Problems in Children. Journal of Child and Family Studies. doi:10.1007/s10826-018-1281-3