There was an association for family stressors with problematic child media use during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published online Aug. 2 in Pediatrics.
Emily Kroshus, Sc.D., M.P.H., from the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and colleagues conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,000 U.S. parents with at least one child aged 6 to 17 years in October to November 2020 to examine problematic child media use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The researchers found that in families where parents were employed full time, present in the home (e.g., working from home), had low levels of formal educational attainment, and were experiencing more psychological distress, problematic use was greater. A small decline was seen in the number of media-related rules implemented during the pandemic (fewer parents enforced screen limits or limited screen use at mealtimes) but no association was seen between implementation of rules and problematic media use.
“Family stressors, but not media rules, were associated with more problematic media use among school-aged children during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the authors write. “Harm reduction efforts related to problematic media use should consider the inequitable stressors to which families are exposed and how these impact the ways in which media is used by families to support functioning.”
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