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,
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