Background: Technology’s constant evolution has presented a challenge to parents, especially parents of young children, who wish to safely manage their children’s media usage. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has published guidelines on young children’s media use for over a decade, with the latest update occurring in 2016. However, it is uncertain to what extent the AAP guidelines (AG) address parent’s concerns. Research has found that a majority of parents utilize the Internet for information and support, and prefer parenting sites over their academic and commercial/non-commercial counterparts. Additionally, online parenting forums provide unique unfiltered insight into parents’ opinions and rationale regarding children’s media use. To date, no study has evaluated online parenting forums on media use for the extent to which the AG cover the topics of the discussions. Objective: To analyze the discussions regarding young children and media usage found on publicly accessible parenting blog sites. Methods: Popular parenting forums were searched using terms such as “technology”, “screen time”, and “media” for threads relating to children’s media usage. Posts were included if the initial poster was seeking advice for a child under the age of five. Discussions were categorized based on their overall topic. The AG were examined to see if they covered these topics. Individual posts were evaluated for the type of evidence provided. Results: Of the 2795 posts analyzed, the majority were addressed by the AG (78.07%). Parental concerns not addressed by the AG included how to adhere to recommendations when caring for multiple children of various ages, technology’s effect on children, how to manage children already considered to be “addicted”, and when/what specific devices and applications are appropriate. While the majority of posts were covered by the AG, they rarely cited the AG (1.18%), with anecdotal evidence being cited considerably more (38.96%) (Table 1). Conclusion: The AAP has published and revised their media usage policy for over a decade. However, a considerable portion of parental posts (21.93%) discussed concerns not covered by the AG. Furthermore, only a miniscule portion of parental posts discussing children’s media usage actually cited the guidelines (1.18%). The AAP should incorporate these topics and concerns not currently addressed by their media usage policy, while simultaneously increasing the public’s awareness of their current recommendations. Furthermore, physicians must begin to consistently reinforce and promote these resources to their patients. Future studies should investigate the extent to which other AAP policies address parents’ concerns and assess the AAP’s current influence and reach with respect to parents and youth.
Examining Parental Concerns with Young Children’s Media Usage and Citation of AAP Guidelines: What’s Covered? What’s not?
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David E. Jimenez, Miriam Singer, Ruth Milanaik; Examining Parental Concerns with Young Children’s Media Usage and Citation of AAP Guidelines: What’s Covered? What’s not?. Pediatrics July 2020; 146 (1_MeetingAbstract): 33–35. 10.1542/peds.146.1MA1.33b
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