Parent Perceptions of Mobile Device Use Among Preschool-Aged Children in Rural Head Start Centers.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To describe child use and parents' beliefs and comfort with young children's use of mobile devices in low-income, rural communities.

METHODS

This was a descriptive, cross-sectional study. The survey, which consisted of 18 multiple-part questions, was distributed to families at 5 Head Start/preschool centers in Colorado.

RESULTS

In total, 192 surveys were returned (28.5% response rate). Most children (92%) used a smartphone or tablet at some frequency and most parents (90%) had downloaded apps specifically for their child. Education and ethnicity were related to parents' technology beliefs. Parent comfort with technology was positively associated with greater child use of technology (P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS

Mobile device use was relatively high in this sample. Mobile devices appear to be a feasible platform to offer nutrition and physical activity education for this audience. Ensuring parent comfort with technology and apps will be important.

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