Media and Technology Use Education in Pediatric Primary Care
Hilbrands, Greta Jayne
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Youth media and technology use is growing at rapid rates and is quickly becoming a necessary tool for effective functioning in the modern world. However, such use has been shown to result in negative consequences for children and adolescents, including impaired executive functioning, increased violence and aggression, and physical and psychological health problems. As such, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that all pediatric providers educate parents about healthy media and technology practices for children and families. The present study sought to examine the proportion of parents who receive media/technology education from their child’s providers, the rates of compliance with these recommendations, the effects that receiving this information has on the frequency and severity of the child’s psychosocial and behavioral problems, and the factors that may influence the likelihood that parents receive media/technology education from their pediatric providers. A total of 302 participants were enrolled in the study. Of the parents who chose to provide their child’s demographic information, the mean age of children in the sample was 7.00 years (SD= 4.5; range= 2-17 years) and the gender distribution was 54.9% male (n=163), 44.1% female (n=131), and 0.34% non-binary (n=3). Only 27.5% (n=78) of parents reported that media/technology was discussed at their child’s most recent visit to a medical provider, however 61.9% (n=187) believed it should be discussed and addressed in this setting. The results also indicated that no parent was fully compliant with all of the AAP’s recommendations for media/technology use. While all parents fell into the partially compliant category, parents of older children (M=4.31, SD=1.19) were significantly more compliant with the AAP guidelines than parents of younger children (M=3.30, SD=1.00), t(245)=-4.78, p<0.001. When examining factors that influence the receipt of media/technology use education, acute reason for referral was a significant predictor of receipt of media/technology use education. These results reveal that a significant percentage of parents do not receive media/technology use education from their pediatric providers but would support the addition of this education in the primary care setting. Findings from this study will be used to inform provider-delivered interventions for parents and families to promote healthy pediatric media/technology use.