Sharing The Media Experience – Which Parental Factors Matter?
A study in Journal of Children and Media investigates which parental factors (e.g., sex, age, media time) are associated with parent-child co-use of different types of media.
It turns out that parental co-use of different types of media depends on parent and child demographics, parents’ time at home, and parents’ time spend with media.
- Parents who spend more time at home are more likely to co-use media with their children.
- Parents who often use media themselves are more likely to co-use media with their children.
- The media co-use of parents and children highly differs according to:
- parents' age, sex, and level of education
- children's age and sex
- types of media
- All parents and caregivers should be aware of their important role in their children's media use. Other studies have shown that co-using and actively discussing media with children can increase positive effects and decrease negative consequences of media.
Which factors (e.g., parents’ demographics or parents’ own time spent with the media) are associated with parent-child co-use of books, TV, computers, video games, tablet, and smartphones?
2,326 parents with a least one child aged 8 and younger (mean age: 35 years old; 42% were fathers)
Parents were recruited through an online panel managed by a large company in the United States. At the start of the online survey parents entered the age and sex of each of their children and the computer selected which child the parent had to consider when filling out the questions. Parents answered questions about their time spent with different types of media and the amount of time they spent with their children engaging with these types of media (i.e., co-use).
Facts and findings
- Parents were more likely to co-use books, TV, tablets and computers if they spent more time at home with their children.
- Parents were also more likely to co-use media with their children if they themselves used these media often.
- Mothers were more likely to co-read books with their children, whereas fathers are more likely to co-use video games, computer, and smartphones with their children.
- Younger parents were more likely to co-use video games and smartphones with their children, whereas older parents were more likely to co-use tablets.
- Parents were more likely to co-use media with younger children than with older children.
- Parents with a high education level were more likely to co-read with their children than less educated parents.
- Parents were more likely to co-use TV with daughters and to co-read books and co-use computers with their sons.
- Critical note: This study does not allow for any conclusions about cause (parental and child factors) and effect (media co-use). The results only show that parental and child factors are associated with media co-use.