Use of Electronic Products by Taiwanese Childrenand Their Effect on Children’s Development:Applying Data from Kids in Taiwan Study

Ching Yang*, Chien Ju Chang

*此作品的通信作者

研究成果: 雜誌貢獻期刊論文同行評審

摘要

Electronic products, such as televisions, smartphones, tablets, and computers, have become an integral part of our lives. Not only are these items increasingly popular but they have also changed our daily routines and communication habits. The Common Sense census (Rideout, 2017) in the United States revealed that more than 90% of children had at least one electronic product at home. In Taiwan, Wei and Chuang (2016) sampled 876 preschool children, revealing that more than 90% were exposed to electronic products and approximately 10% had started to use electronic products before the age of 2. The effect of electronic product use on children’s development is a concern for parents, teachers, and researchers in the field of early childhood education. However, studies on the relationship between electronic product use and children’s development have produced mixed results. This study investigated (1) the use of electronic products by 3-year-old children in Taiwan, (2) whether children from different backgrounds spent different amounts of time using electronic products, and (3) how children’s usage of electronic product influences their motor, language, cognitive-attention/executive function, and emotional development. The participants in this study were 2,164 children born in Taiwan between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014, comprising 1,113 boys (51.4%) and 1,051 girls (48.6%). The age range of the parents in the sample was predominantly 31-40 years (59.7% of fathers, 69.8% of mothers), followed by 41-50 years (31.1% of fathers, 15.9% of mothers). This study used the Physical Movement Development Questionnaire, Language Development Questionnaire, Cognitive Development Questionnaire (Attention/Executive Function), Social Emotional Development Questionnaire, and Electronic Product Use Questionnaire developed by the Kids in Taiwan: National, Longitudinal Study of Child Development and Care project (Chang, 2019) to collect the data. The SPSS and AMOS software programs were used to perform descriptive and inferential statistics and structural equation model analyses, respectively. Seven main results were obtained from this study: Only 6.8% of the children had never used electronic products. Television was the most frequently used electronic product (78%), followed by smartphones (64.8%); the least used were video game consoles (2.8%) and notebook computers (4.1%). Children spent more time watching television than using other electronic products daily. On average, more than half the children (57.3%) watched television within 1.5 hours per day, and 24.8% watched television for more than 2 hours per day. More than 70% used smartphones, tablets, notebook computers, and video game consoles within 1 hour. The average time boys and girls spent watching television was 102 minutes and 90 minutes, respectively, and the difference was statistically significant. No significant difference, however, was identified for the time spent using smartphones, tablets, notebook computers, or video game consoles between boys and girls. In this study, the children’s places of residence were divided into “northern,” “central,” “southern,” and “eastern.” The results demonstrated that no significant difference existed in the time children spent watching television in terms of place of residence (F = 1.47, p>.05), but a significant difference was observed in the time children spent using smartphones, tablets, notebook computers, and video games with regard to place of residence (F = 6.34, p<.001). Children living in central (M = 45.76) and southern Taiwan (M = 47.17) spent significantly more time using smartphones, tablets, notebook computers, and video games than those living in northern Taiwan (M = 37.53). A significant difference was identified in time spent watching television and using smartphones, tablets, notebook computers, and video games in relation to parents’ education levels. Children whose parents had not completed high school (M= 112.37) watched television and used smartphones, tablets, computers, and video games for significantly longer periods than those whose parents had graduated from university or college (M = 93.89) or held a master’s degree or above (M = 65.63). Children with different household incomes spent different lengths of time watching television and using smartphones, tablets, computers, and video games. Children with a monthly household income under NT$40,000 spent significantly more time watching television than those whose monthly family income ranged from NT$70,000 to NT$120,000 or was NT$120,000 and above; children with a monthly family income between NT$40,000 and NT$70,000 watched television significantly more than those whose monthly household income was between NT$70,000 and NT$120,000 or NT$120,000 and above. In addition, children with a monthly household income under NT$40,000 used smartphones, tablets, computers, and video games the longest. In terms of children’s development, this study found that the children who spent the most time watching television (r = -.107, p<.01) and using smartphones, tablets, computers, and video games (r = -.095, p<.01) had a significantly lower level of fine motor development. A similar result was identified for language development. The correlation coefficients for the relationship between children’s time spent watching television and their performance in receptive language, productive language, and emergent literacy were -.043 (p<.05), -.130 (p<.01), and -.138 (p<.01), respectively. As for the relationship between the time children spent using smartphones, tablets, computers, and video games and the three constructs of children’s language development, the correlation coefficients all reached significant levels (receptive language: R = -.043, p<.05; productive language: R = -.136, p<.01; emergent literacy: R = -.130, p<.01). The results also demonstrated a significantly negative correlation between the time children spent watching television and their attention/executive function (r = -.129, p<.01). The same finding was evident in the relationship between the time children spent using smartphones, tablets, computers, and video games and their attention/executive function performance (r = -.100, p<.01). With respect to children’s emotional development, similar results were observed. Significantly negative relationships were identified between the time children spent watching television and children’s emotional awareness (r = -.062, p<.01), emotional expression (r = -.063, p<.01), and emotional understanding (r = -.063, p<.01). The results of the structural equation model analyses demonstrated that children’s socioeconomic status (SES) could explain the time children spent using electronic products; the higher a child’s SES was, the less time they spent using these products. The time children spent using electronic products was also linked to their level of development; the longer a child spent using these products, the worse their developmental level was. SES did not have a direct influence on children’s development. In conclusion, this study extended previous research and revealed that the electronic products used most frequently by 3-year-old children in Taiwan were televisions and smartphones and the average time children spent watching television was higher than that recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Significant differences were observed in the time children spent using electronic products when children’s gender, parental education level, family income, and place of residence were analyzed. Significant negative relationships were also revealed between the time children spent using electronic products and their motor, language, cognitive, and emotional development, which is consistent with previous studies. The results of this study suggest that the prolonged use of electronic products has a negative impact on the development of 3-year-old children in Taiwan. Parents, caregivers, and educators should pay more attention to the time children spend using these products.

原文英語
頁(從 - 到)257-284
頁數28
期刊Bulletin of Educational Psychology
53
發行號2
DOIs
出版狀態已發佈 - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • 教育
  • 發展與教育心理學

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