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Member Research and Reports

Maryland: Researcher Identifies “Constancy” as a New Way to Measure and Understand Children’s Media Use


Our current methods of measuring and understanding children’s media use are outdated in a world of pervasive screen-use, according to a new paper from University of Maryland School of Public Health professor Dr. Dina Borzekowski.

Past research on media’s impact on youth has focused on the three “Cs”: Consumption, Content and Context. The paper, published last week in Health, Education and Behavior, introduces the concept of “constancy” — the idea that media use is now a pervasive, continuous part of our lives — and particularly of today’s children and adolescents. 

In a world of media constancy, “understanding youth and media requires that researchers change their focus,” said Dr. Borzekowski, a professor of behavioral and community health, in the paper. “We need to pay more attention to the child rather than the media they use.”

As it gets harder for any of us to escape screens, researchers and parents and caregivers will need to use “pragmatic and innovative approaches to understand the new landscape of children, adolescents and media,” said Dr. Borzekowski in the paper.

Dr. Borzekowski is a research professor of behavioral and community health. She studies the impact of media on the health and development of children and adolescents. While much of her work focuses on how media can promote children’s development in low-and middle-income countries, she’s now thinking about the new world of constant media, especially for digital natives in the United States.

Read Dr. Borzekowski’s five tips for parents and caregivers looking to lessen the stress of media constancy.

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