Tablets and smartphones used as ‘pacifiers’ to keep babies happy – Web & Social –


Tablets and mobile phones are the new pacifier for little ones, in fact, they are often handed over by stressed parents to keep them quiet. This was revealed by a new study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, which analyzed the relationship between parental stress and children’s screen time.

462 parents with children under the age of 36 months participated in the researchers. Parents self-reported their stress levels, attitudes toward their children’s media use (tablets, iPads, smartphones, etc.), as well as their children’s screen time. The results showed that parental stress levels and parental attitudes were associated with children’s screen time. Parents with positive attitudes toward children’s media use actually tended to encourage their children to use screens for an average of 17.5 minutes when experiencing low levels of stress and 28 minutes when facing high levels of stress; while parents with negative attitudes tended to impose rules limiting screen use (allowing 9.5 minutes of screen time in less stressful situations and about 10 minutes in high-stress times). In addition, parents may use screen media as a coping mechanism for parenting stress. This could be due to a lack of alternative strategies to cope with moments of stress, such as expressing one’s feelings and taking time for oneself.

“We found that parents’ positive attitude toward screen use in early childhood partially strengthens the relationship between parental stress and children’s screen time,” explains lead author Valérie Brauchli from the University of Zurich. In other words, children’s use of tablets and smartphones can serve as a tool to overcome the stress of parenthood.

The results are important considering that screen time may be associated with a risk of lower cognitive, socio-emotional and/or motor skills, although the actual risk depends on a number of individual and contextual variables. will be explored in future studies,” he concludes.

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