Is your kid glued to his phone? It may be a way to deal with a chaotic world

By | September 5, 2018
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child using a smart phone

(Kaitlyn Beukema/Michigan News)

Parents might shake their heads at kids huddled in the corner of a restaurant booth, playing games on their tablets. But actually, the kids might be creating a comfortable space in a chaotic world they are not prepared to manage. A new U-M survey suggests that the more often kids use media devices to modulate their environments, the more likely their parents view that use as problematic—especially if parents’ and children’s media use differs. “Children for the most part do not get to choose where they eat, sleep, play or learn. These are some of the only tools they have to modify sensory input,” said lead author Kristen Harrison, professor of communication studies. The study outlines sensory curation theory, a new idea that suggests people use media devices to create a comfortable sensory space for themselves. Using this theory, the study found that children diagnosed with sensory processing disorders such as autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder were more likely to be in conflict with their parents about their media use.