Parental risk factors and moderators of prolonged digital use in preschoolers: A meta-analysis

Haoyue QIAN, Chenggong WANG, Hui LI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Prolonged digital use is prevalent among young children. Still, it is unclear which parental risk factors contribute to this and whether cultural background (western vs. non-western) and parental role (mother vs. father/parents) could moderate this impact. A systematic literature search identified 52 empirical studies with 54,334 children in a random-effects meta-analysis. The analysis revealed that preschoolers’ prolonged digital use was significantly associated with parental digital use (r =.24, 95%CI [0.17, 0.30]), low socioeconomic status (r =.10, 95%CI [0.08, 0.13]), and passive parenting behavior (r =.17, 95%CI [0.10, 0.25]), and significantly but weakly correlated with psychological distress (r =.15, 95%CI [0.07, 0.23]). There were effect size differences between the sub-items in both passive parenting behavior and psychological distress factors. In addition, cultural background moderated the associations between preschoolers’ digital use and parents' digital use (Q = 8.38, p <.01) and passive parenting behaviors (Q = 3.32, p =.06). In contrast, the moderating effects of the parental role were not significant (Qs < 4.16, ps >.13). These findings suggest that specific items of parental factor, particularly those related to parenting practices, should be considered as the risks of preschoolers’ prolonged digital use. Future studies should pay more attention to cultural differences and the roles of fathers. Copyright © 2024 The Author(s).

Original languageEnglish
JournalEducation and Information Technologies
Early online dateMar 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Mar 2024

Citation

Qian, H., Wang, C., & Li, H. (2024). Parental risk factors and moderators of prolonged digital use in preschoolers: A meta-analysis. Education and Information Technologies. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-024-12558-6

Keywords

  • Parental risk factors (AR)
  • Preschool children
  • Digital device use
  • Screen time
  • Meta-analysis

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