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Research Letter
April 2016

Use of Mobile Technology to Calm Upset ChildrenAssociations With Social-Emotional Development

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2currently with Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor.
  • 3Division of General Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Pediatr. 2016;170(4):397-399. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.4260

Although it is known that parents of infants and toddlers with difficult behavior disproportionately use television and videos as calming tools,1 there are no published data regarding to what degree mobile technologies (such as cell phones and tablets) are used for this purpose. Previous qualitative work with parents has suggested that parental perceived control, defined as feelings of control over children’s behavior and development, may determine how parents set limits around screen media use2 and respond to difficult child behavior.3 We therefore sought to further explore this observation by examining associations between the social-emotional development of toddlers and mobile media use in a sample of parent-toddler dyads, and to determine whether potential associations are modified by parental perceived control.

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