“Young school children’s use of digital devices and parental rules” (Goh, 2015)

Young school children’s use of digital devices and parental rules” (Goh, 2015)Please note: This post is more relevant for researchers and clinicians.

Research Paper Breakdown:

  • Survey
  • Face to face interview
  • 116 Primary 1 and Primary 2 school students from co-educational schools
  • Children were asked about access to digital devices, asking for permission and parental rules
  • Conducted in Singapore by National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University with funding from Inter ministry Cyber wellness Steering Committee
  • 32 questions conducted by the same interviewer over an average of 10 minutes per interview

Weaknesses of Study:

  • Parents were not interviewed
  • Younger children were observed to be distracted mid-way in the interview
  • Younger children may have under reported or incorrectly reported digital device use
  • Younger children may have difficulty with concepts relating to time
  • Time constraints on interview
  • Descriptions of how games were played online and offline were not elicited
  • Only 4 schools sampled

Strengths of Study:

  • Face to face interview allows for young children to clarify questions they do not understand
  • Using the same single interviewer allowed for consistency
  • The study asked about multiple devices: computers, mobile phones and tablets

What were their main findings?

  • Young children use digital devices mainly for playing games (78%) and e-learning (72%).

Regarding computer use:

  • The most common instruction from parents was that students were only allowed to play computer games after their homework was completed
  • One quarter of students were unable to report specific instructions given by their parents.
  • 60% of students reported some sort of time limit on use of devices
  • 21% of students reported that they had no time limits imposed on them
  • The remaining 19% were uncertain about any time limits from parents

Regarding mobile phone and tablet use:

  • Parents tend not to set a specific time limit for playing on the mobile phone
  • Parents tend to give vague instructions

What can we learn from this?

  • Parents need to understand the activities their child are doing on digital devices and online
  • Parents need to stay up to date with the the risks associated their children using digital devices and online
  • Young children need to be taught about cyber safety and cyber-wellness
  • Parents need to be clear and consistent with their instructions on use of all digital devices
  • Young children may have difficulty with concepts relating to time
  • Parents need to set specific time limits
  • Parents should have a continual open parent-child communication and provide the rationale for setting limits
  • Children should be taught self regulations skills at an early age that do not involve digital devices
  • Parents should be involved in monitoring of their child’s use of digital devices


Goh, W. W., Bay, S., & Chen, V. H. H. (2015). Young school children’s use of digital devices and parental rules. Telematics and Informatics, 32(4), 787-795.



One reply on ““Young school children’s use of digital devices and parental rules” (Goh, 2015)”

Comments are closed.