Meltdowns and media: Moment-to-moment fluctuations in young children's media use transitions and the role of children's mood states

Sarah M. Coyne, Adam Rogers, Jane Shawcroft, Peter Reschke, Rachel Barr, Emilie J. Davis, Hailey G. Holmgren, Sarah Domoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent research has started to examine problematic media use in early childhood. However, the vast majority of research has been questionnaire based, has assumed relative within-person stability in problematic media use patterns, and has rarely examined antecedents to problematic media use. We utilized an ecological momentary assessment design (EMA) in the current study to tease apart within- and between-subjects variability in media use and examine how one antecedent, child mood, was related to positive and negative transitions away from media. Two-hundred forty-three parent-child dyads (Mchild age = 41.17 months, SD = 3.06 months) took part in an EMA assessment of media use multiple times each day over seven days. Parents reported on (1) their child's mood prior to the media use (energetic, happy, bored, upset), (2) their reason for having the child use media in that instance, and (3) the child's behavior as they transitioned away from media. Findings indicated that child energetic mood prior to media use was associated with a better transition away from media. Additionally, a majority of variability resided at the within-person level and was not explained by normal fluctuations in the day of the week (weekday vs. weekend). Children were also less likely to transition well if parents used media to regulate their child's negative emotion. Implications for parents are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107360
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume136
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Child development
  • Infancy
  • Media emotion regulation
  • Mood
  • Problematic media use

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