Parent-child joint media engagement in infancy

Laura M. Padilla-Walker, Sarah Domoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Early conversations are an important source in shaping children's cognitive and emotional development, and it is vital to understand how parents use media as a platform to engage in conversations with their young children and what might predict the quality of these interactions. Thus, in the current study we explored the nature of parent–child discourse while engaging in media (i.e., joint media engagement) with infants, and how parent (empathic concern and responsiveness) and child (negative emotionality and regulatory capacity) variables might be associated with the quality of engagement. The current study consisted of 269 infants (50% female, Mage = 17.09 months, SD = 3.93; 59% White) and their primary caregiver (98% mothers) who engaged in a variety of in-home tasks and parental questionnaires. Results established three meaningful codes for both parent and child that assessed positive and negative joint media engagement. Further, results suggested that parental empathic concern was associated with positive parent and child media engagement, while child negative emotionality was associated with lower levels of distraction. Discussion focuses on the importance of studying parent–child discourse in the context of joint media engagement and recommends limiting media exposure before 18 months of age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-570
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2020


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