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How Are Families Using Media and Technology?

Posted on 07/10/2013

Two young boys with an tablet device
Credit: Chris Enns/flickr External link opens in new window or tab

The National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) and Northwestern University co-sponsored a conference External link opens in new window or tab titled "Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology: How Families Use Media and Technology in Their Daily Lives." The conference was convened to release survey findings of Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology External link opens in new window or tab, a report written by Dr. Ellen Wartella of Northwestern University.

The study explores how parents are incorporating new digital technologies, such as tablets and smartphones, as well as older media platforms, like TV, video games, and computers, into their family lives and parenting practices. The goal of the study was to seek answers to such questions as: What does the family media and technology environment look like today? How widely have mobile media technologies been adopted? Are they making parents' lives easier?

The study focuses on families with young children and explores what is actually happening in the lives of real families, from all walks of life. It is based on an extensive survey of a nationally representative sample of more than 2,300 parents of children from birth to eight years old. The survey was informed by a series of four focus groups among parents of young children, conducted in California and Illinois. Parents' comments from the focus groups and from the survey are included throughout the report. The key findings and all numeric data in the report are based on the results of the quantitative national survey.

For children's advocates, educators, public health groups, policymakers, and parents, it is important to have an accurate understanding of what families' lives really look like. Thus the goal of the present report is to deepen and sharpen that understanding.

Source: NCFL Line on Literacy Newsletter – June 2013 External link opens in new window or tab and Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology External link opens in new window or tab

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