For a society to thrive, its members need opportunities to establish and develop healthy relationships in early childhood. But now that digital media is such an integral part of people’s daily lives, it has the potential to disrupt family interactions and children’s development. Yet it is vastly under-studied.
Dr. Sheri Madigan, Canada Research Chair in Determinants of Child Development, is trying to address this research gap. She and her research team hope to make use of multi-method, multi-informant data collection to capture the nuances and complexities of family dynamics and children’s developmental processes with regards to the potentially encroaching influence of digital media in contemporary family life. Ultimately, their work may help us to understand and avoid digital influences that can interrupt the development of healthy childhood relationships.