Presentation - ECV2022-310
Background: The COVID-19 lockdown had forced young children to take digital preschooling and their parents to practice digital parenting; however, there are still heated debates about the benefits and risks of using digital devices in the early years.
Aim: This study explored how Chinese young children use and interact with digital devices at home, and how their parents viewed and mediated early digital use during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Method: Altogether 2,491 Chinese parents of young children (aged 0–8) in China were eligible to complete the survey online from November to December 2020. The Home Digital Practices Survey (HDPS) was used in this study, and the data were analysed both quantitively and qualitatively.
Results: (1) all the children had access to a variety of digital technologies at home, with the most common digital practices being watching TV and using smartphones; (2) three latent classes of digital families were yielded: Low-level Profile (62.9% of the sample), Middle-level Profile (36.3%), and High-Level Profile (0.8%); (3) child age, location and family annual income, home digital resources, parental beliefs, and parental mediation could significantly predict young children’s digital literacy and their multimodal practice at home; (4) Chinese parents held mixed views of early digital use with some being positive (25.09%), negative (35.13%), and balanced or ambivalent (32.64%); and (5) Parents mainly perceived parental roles as guides (35.84%) and supervisors (32.04%) and adopted four digital parenting approaches: supervision, active mediation, restrictive mediation, and co-use or co-view.
Conclusions: Chinese young children had access to various digital technologies at home. Child age, location and family annual income, home digital resources, parental beliefs, and parental mediation could significantly predict young children’s digital literacy. Chinese parents held mixed views of early digital use, and they adopted four typical approaches: supervision, active mediation, restrictive mediation, and co-use or co-view.
Implications for practitioners: For the policymaker: you should consider those rural families with low annual income and provide parent education for in-home digital mediating practices.
Funding: This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of Henan Province: [Grant Number 2020-ZZJH-427]
Key words: families’ voices, wellbeing, education, policy, government, qualitative methods, quantitative methods, young children, digital devices, digital technologies, parents, perceptions, roles, mediation strategies
This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: