The April 2019 Crane Research Forum hosted Dr. Amy Nathanson, Professor in Ohio State’s School of Communication. Crane Research Forums are hosted monthly throughout the academic year and serve to highlight Ohio State faculty and their research as it pertains to Early Childhood Education.
Dr. Nathanson began her presentation with an overview of children’s media habits in recent history. In the 1970s children were exposed to television as early as age 4, while in 2017 children were exposed to screens by the age of 4 months old. TV is still the main form of media consumed but it is no surprise that mobile media (tablets, smart phones, etc.) consumption is on the rise.
Dr. Nathanson discussed three studies that she has recently conducted. The first study surveyed parents and children on media consumption as it relates to sleep. They found that tablet use in a child’s bedtime routine was related to time-shifted sleep, meaning that children went to bed later and slept in later. This time-shifted sleep is related to less sleep at night and a less mature sleep pattern. The second study looked at mobile media use as it relates to sleep and effortful control (self-regulation). This study found that tablet use had a negative effect on effortful control, but this effect could be helped when a child is getting good sleep. The third study found that homes that had more TV time (both in the background and intentional) and mobile media use by a caregiver led to less and worse quality of communication between caregiver and child.
On the bright side of media, Dr. Nathanson closed the talk by explaining that shared media experiences between caregiver and child can increase interactions, facilitate bonding, and encourage discussion about sensitive topics.
Watch the presentation here.
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