Does the use of mobile devices by preschool children differentiate their cognitive functioning?
The aim of the project was to verify the relationship between the use of mobile devices by children aged 4-6 and their cognitive functioning (inhibition and non-verbal memory). The ability to inhibit unwanted reactions is a key skill related to self-control and is often indicated as deficient in children using mobile devices at an early age. Scientific research in this area is ambiguous. Based on a literature review, we predicted that certain characteristics of a child's use of mobile devices may reduce inhibition abilities and promote impulsive behaviour. Such characteristics may include lack of parental/guardian control/supervision when the child uses the device / mobile devices, allowing it to be used as emotional control (e.g. when the child cries), permission to use it to meet needs such as food.
Two groups of children (and their parents): (1) children using mobile devices (600 children and 600 parents) and (2) children not using mobile devices (150 children and parents).
The use of mobile devices does not differentiate the cognitive functioning of children ages 4-6. Lack of parental / guardian control/supervision when the child uses the device / mobile devices, allowing it to be used as emotional control (e.g. when the child cries), permission to use it to meet needs such as food promote uncontrolled use by children and correlates with lower control inhibition and working memory.
This study is among the first studies on a large sample of children aged 4 – 6, with an intensive investigation into the patterns of use of mobile devices. This study provides an important insight into what correlates with negative developmental consequences of mobile devices among small children.