Background: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently updated the recommendations for young children’s media use. These recommendations include avoiding screen media other than video-chatting for children under 18 months, co-viewing media with children ages 5 and under, and limiting screen use to 1 hour a day for children ages 2-5. While the AAP is an important resource, research indicates that parents primarily seek information from other sources, including the Internet. In fact, one study reported that the majority of parents used the Internet as a source of information and preferred experienced-based advice and visiting parenting sites. Specifically, parents may turn to online parenting blogs, where they can receive informal advice from other caregivers. It is unknown whether the information parents receive on these blog sites is consistent with the AAP’s media usage guidelines. Objectives: To analyze the information regarding young children and media usage on publicly accessible parenting blog sites. Design/Methods: Popular parenting blog sites were analyzed. The original posts (OP) were identified by searching for technology-related keywords such as “screen time,” “media,” “television,” and “laptop.” The OPs were included if the author discussed technology in the context of children ages 5 and under. The OP and the corresponding comments were then analyzed to determine whether they included anecdotes or recommendations that conflicted with AAP guidelines. A chi-squared test was used to examine the relationship between the comments’ overall AAP-compliance and the OPs AAP-compliance. Results: A total of 3,010 posts from 96 separate discussions were analyzed. The majority (68.8%) of the OPs analyzed contained a personal anecdote that conflicted with AAP guidelines and the majority (56.98%) contained a set of comments that were primarily (more than half) inconsistent with AAP guidelines. OPs with information that conflicted with AAP guidelines were significantly more likely to contain a set of comments that conflicted with AAP guidelines (p=.016). Conclusion(s): The AAP has provided recommendations to guide children’s interactions with various forms of media. However, our study indicates that the majority of the advice that parents receive through parenting blogs, a common information source, conflicts with the AAP’s recommendations. Thus, it is crucial that pediatricians warn parents about the risks of following recommendations given on informal blog discussions. Additionally, the AAP should consider establishing a stronger internet presence to increase the reach of their evidence-based anticipatory guidance to caregivers who turn to the web for parenting advice.
Talking Tech: Examining Online Parental Discussions Surrounding Children and Media Usage for AAP Compliance
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David E. Jimenez, Miriam R. Singer, Ruth Milanaik; Talking Tech: Examining Online Parental Discussions Surrounding Children and Media Usage for AAP Compliance. Pediatrics July 2020; 146 (1_MeetingAbstract): 35–36. 10.1542/peds.146.1MA1.35
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