The influence of children’s gender and age on children’s use of digital media at home

Kucirkova, Natalia; Littleton, Karen and Kyparissiadis, Antonios (2018). The influence of children’s gender and age on children’s use of digital media at home. British Journal of Educational Technology, 49(3) pp. 545–559.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12543

Abstract

This study is the first to systematically investigate the influence of child gender and age, on parents’ perceptions of UK children’s digital media use at home. It provides an in-depth exploration of how children’s age and gender influence the balance between children’s use of digital and non-digital media at home. The data draw on 709 parents’ responses to an open-ended question asked in the context of a national survey investigating the digital reading habits of children, conducted in 2015. Parents’ responses were analysed using content and thematic analysis, which yielded eight main categories, collapsed into three major themes: control, child’s healthy development and diversity of experiences. Quantitative analyses evidenced that more parents of boys were concerned about the health implications of their children’s digital media use and this was a concern especially for parents of the youngest (0-2-year old) children. More parents of 6-8-year olds cited the appeal of technology as the main reason for the perceived imbalance in their children’s engagement with digital media. The study provides a more secure understanding of the factors that influence parental perceptions of their children’s digital media use at home, which has implications for policy-makers, digital designers and early years professionals.

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