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05-08-2020 | Original Paper | Uitgave 10/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 10/2020

Exploring the Reliability and Validity of the TechU-Q to Evaluate Device and Purpose Specific Screen Use in Preschool Children and Parents

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 10/2020
Erin K. Howie, Shelley McNally, Leon M. Straker
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Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


Young children are increasingly using mobile technology, with potential for positive and negative developmental consequences. Parents are responsible to guide children in their use of technology based on recommendations and guidelines. Guidelines for screen use in young children have been based on little empirical information on contemporary screen use. This study surveyed parents of young children (n = 96, mean child age 3.0, SD 1.0 years) from three settings (Australia, United States) to test the reliability and validity of a new tool to capture richer data on technology use within a techno-microsystem. The TechU-Q demonstrated reasonable test-retest reliability and face and construct validity. Young children averaged more than 60 min per day of total technology use, mostly using TV, tablet computers, and mobile phones. The primary purposes for child use were educational and watching videos. Parental attitudes towards technology and parent use were associated with their child’s use. Future guidelines should utilize detailed descriptions of technology use by device and purpose to provide more relevant advice on technology use for young children.

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