Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Program Name/Specialization

Developmental Psychology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Eileen Wood

Advisor Role



Technology is part of everyday life for most adults and children. Digital technologies allow children to engage with technology and the digital world earlier in their development than previously experienced (Orlando, 2011; Plowman, Stevenson, Stephen, & McPake, 2012). Two studies were conducted to explore joint media-based interactions of parents and their children. Parental views, age, gender, experience and familiarity with technology were considered in conjunction with parent-child interactions when engaged with stationary and mobile computers and when engaged with easy and difficult to navigate software. Study 1 employed self-report measures consistent with the wider body of literature available regarding early introduction of technology. Overall, the findings indicated that children are introduced to technology at an early age, however inconsistencies exist regarding the duration of technology use across different families. Reasons for introducing technology varied considerably and included factors such as family structure. Parents reported utilizing various forms of support when introducing the new technology, including a variety of verbal, emotional, and physical supports.

Study 2 involved behavioural observations. Qualitative examination of observations captured four levels of broad overarching themes: parental intentions during game play; supports parents provided; scaffolding; and engagements between parents and children. Subsequent subthemes were grouped under the major themes found in the self-report data: Verbal, Physical and Emotional. Overall, most parents exhibited a variety of supports and in most cases these did not differ as a function of parental gender but did differ as a function of child’s age.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season