Mobile technology and child and adolescent development

May 30, 2017

A new special section of Child Development shows how particularly diverse the use of mobile technology is among children and adolescents, and points to great complexity in the effects of that usage.

This special section of Child Development, edited by Dr. Zheng Yan and Dr. Lennart Hardell, adds important information to the research in this area. It includes articles from national and international scholars on the complicated impact has on infants, toddlers, children, teens and parents.

"There are nearly three billion children and adolescents in the world," said Yan. "Most of them were, are, or will be various types of mobile technology users, interacting with and being influenced by mobile technology in numerous ways."

The articles in this special section, "Contemporary Mobile Technology and Child and Adolescent Development," consider the effects on a wide range of outcomes including:

  • Risks of using mobile phones while driving, walking, and bicycling (Stavrinos)
  • Risks of radiation in mobile phone use for (Hardell; Sage)
  • Effects of mobile technology on cognitive control and attention in contexts such as parenting and and (McDaniel; Li; McClure)
  • Risks of sexting /increased risky behavior through peer pressure and social media interaction (Rice; Sherman)
  • Effects of mobile technology use on sleep, mood, and mental health (Vernon; George/Odgers)
  • Potential for monitoring children's locations/children's attitudes towards security and monitoring through GPS tracking (Gelman)
  • Increased connectivity across spaces and cultures (Shapka; Coyne)

Findings across the articles in the special section point to a range of outcomes including areas where mobile technology may pose potential dangers, and areas where development may be supported. An important example is the work summarized by Dr. Lennart Hardell concerning radiation and brain development. In terms of potential benefits to , mobile technology offers new, unique ways for young children to maintain contact with family members not physically present.

"Today's mobile technologies have become a very unique and powerful influence on child and ," said Yan. "Its use is very personal for children and adolescents, occurs almost anywhere and anytime, and integrates telephone, television, video games, personal computers, the Internet, and many new technologies into a portable device. The evidence indicates complex impacts on young mobile users."

Explore further: Can parents' tech obsessions contribute to a child's bad behavior?

Related Stories

Can parents' tech obsessions contribute to a child's bad behavior?

May 24, 2017
Fatigue. Hunger. Boredom. Those are often on the list of reasons parents mention if their child whines, has tantrums or acts out.

Are parents of 'difficult' children more likely to use iPads to calm kids down?

February 29, 2016
It may be tempting to hand an iPad or Smartphone to a tantrum-throwing child—and maybe more so for some parents.

Do children inherently want to help others?

November 22, 2016
Prosocial behavior is often defined in developmental science research as "voluntary behavior intended to benefit another." This can include behaviors like helping, sharing, comforting, or volunteering. Developmental scientists ...

Most preschoolers use tablets, smartphones daily

November 2, 2015
(HealthDay)—Nearly all U.S. kids under age 4 have used a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone, and they are using them at earlier and earlier ages, a new study finds.

Recommended for you

Exposure to violence hinders short-term memory, cognitive control

July 24, 2017
Being exposed to and actively remembering violent episodes—even those that happened up to a decade before—hinders short-term memory and cognitive control, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National ...

Using money to buy time linked to increased happiness

July 24, 2017
New research is challenging the age-old adage that money can't buy happiness.

Researchers pave new path toward preventing obesity

July 24, 2017
People who experience unpredictable childhoods due to issues such as divorce, crime or frequent moves face a higher risk of becoming obese as adults, according to a new study by a Florida State University researcher.

Higher cognitive abilities linked to greater risk of stereotyping

July 24, 2017
People with higher cognitive abilities are more likely to learn and apply social stereotypes, finds a new study. The results, stemming from a series of experiments, show that those with higher cognitive abilities also more ...

Psychologists say our 'attachment style' applies to social networks like Facebook

July 24, 2017
A new investigation appearing this week in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin suggests a strong association between a person's attachment style—how avoidant or anxious people are in their close relationships—and ...

World-first ketamine trial shows promise for geriatric depression

July 24, 2017
Australian researchers have completed the world's first randomised control trial (RCT) assessing the efficacy and safety of ketamine as a treatment for depression in elderly patients.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.