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Children’s Media Use: Does It Matter for Social Adjustment during the Early School Transition?

Abstract

A successful early transition to primary school contributes to children's proper development and academic performance in formal schools. In this process of early transition, a child's social adjustment capacity plays a pivotal role. This study examines whether children’s media use can predict their social adjustment during the early transitional phase in Mainland China. This study adopted a random sample of 97 families with children aged 4–6 years during the early transition from April 2018 to June 2019 in a second-tier city in China. The amount of time children spent on media both in preschool and primary schools, types of media used by children and parents’ media use were examined through a longitudinal method. Results from ANOVA analysis, factor analysis and regression analysis showed that the total time children spent on media every day after entering formal school, shows a significant downward trend from one hour onwards than their preschool years. Children from families with low socioeconomic conditions show low social adjustment (in terms of social interaction, self-control, and independence factors), a process that may in turn lead to overexposure to media use thereby, worsening their negative social adjustment. Family socioeconomic conditions are an important mediator of children's media use and social adjustment in the early school transitional phase. This study discusses the strategies and implications for the rational promotion of children's media use during this transitional period and the research directions are discussed from the perspectives of parents, teachers, and policy-makers.

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Shou, E., Nanakida, A. Children’s Media Use: Does It Matter for Social Adjustment during the Early School Transition?. Child Ind Res (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-022-09956-y

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Keywords

  • Social adjustment
  • children’s media use
  • early transition to primary school