Children and Screen Time

It can be hard for parents today to figure out what to do about their preschool children’s screen time. Should they allow it, or should they not? How much? What type of screen time is okay? As they try to answer these questions for themselves, they are often faced with conflicting viewpoints from the media, family, friends, official organisations. Some views are based on a RISK discourse, where screen media use by young children is portrayed as fraught with danger, and parents’ main role is to protect their children from the harmful effects of screen time. Some views are based on an OPPORTUNITIES discourse, which highlights the many benefits screen use can bring for children, and the future opportunities it may open up if young children learn how to use screen technologies.

I have recently finished and submitted my doctoral thesis on the role of media exposure in early childhood development, and parents’ role in their children’s media exposure. Drawing on my research, this website aims to be a resource for parents of preschoolers as they weigh up the pros and cons of screen media use and make choices about how to “media parent”. I hope this helps parents as they try to navigate these sometimes confusing issues! It includes a blog, which I will add to regularly. There is an advice section, where I draw on my own research results and the wider literature to answer some of the common questions parents might have. Note that I always acknowledge that parents are the experts on their own children. Every family is different. Please check out the Projects section of the website for some in-depth info on the research studies I have conducted and am in the process of conducting now.