MONDAY, June 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Parents overestimate and underestimate their young children’s mobile phone use, according to a study published online June 1 in Pediatrics.

Jenny S. Radesky, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues recruited 346 English-speaking parents and guardians of children aged 3 to 5 years to participate in a study of child media use. Interaction with participants was via email, online surveys, and mobile device sampling. A passive-sensing application and screenshots of the battery feature were used to estimate use in Android and iOS devices.

The sample included 126 Android users and 220 iOS users; 35 percent of the children had their own device. The researchers found that YouTube, YouTube Kids, internet browsers, quick search or Siri, and streaming video services were the most commonly used applications. Among the 121 children with their own device, average daily usage was 115.3 minutes/day and was comparable for Android and iOS devices. Most parents underestimated or overestimated their child’s use compared with mobile device sampling output (35.7 and 34.8 percent, respectively).

“Given the limitations of parent report, such objective measurement tools must be developed and refined so that health research (and evidence-based guidelines) can reflect the complex ways modern media are used,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Melissa & Doug Toys and Common Sense Media.

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