The impact of joint media engagement on parent–child interactions: a systematic review

Carrie Ewin, Andrea E. Reupert, Louise A. McLean, Christopher J. Ewin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The American Academy of Paediatrics recommend that parent and children (aged 2–18 years) jointly engage in media yet the impact on interactions is unknown. This systematic review identified joint media engagement (JME) rates, the supports offered by parents and children to each other and the impact of JME on parent–child interactions. A search within six article databases (ProQuest, PsycInfo, Web of Science, Scopus, Pub Med, and CINAHL) from January 2007 to June 2019 found 7,130 results. Included papers involved parent–child dyads engaging in JME with a smartphone or tablet. In the 27 identified papers, most parents engaged in JME sometimes (41–72%) compared to JME use that was frequent (13–38%) and JME refusal (4–8%). Parents and children supported each other with cognitive, physical, technical, and affective techniques. Children were more engaged during JME activities and key elements of language quality was reduced compared to nonmobile device activities (such as toy play). The impact of JME on language quantity, warmth, scaffolding and the overall parent–child relationship was inconsistent, however, several factors that potentially influenced this impact were identified. Research investigating these factors and how apps may foster interactions is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-254
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Behavior and Emerging Technologies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • co-use
  • joint media engagement
  • mediation
  • mobile device
  • mobile media
  • parent–child interactions

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