Do media plans impact teen media use?


Much of the focus on media use plans has been on young children, but do they have an impact on adolescent media consumption?

With the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, the opportunity to be exposed to media is at an all-time high, which has led to the American Academy of Pediatrics creating a family media use plan and further guidance. When considering media use, most of the focus has been on young children who are still in the midst of brain development, but a report in JAMA Pediatrics looks into whether the guidance and family media use plan led to any changes in how teenagers engage with media.1

The researchers ran a randomize clinical trial that utilized a parallel design. They recruited parent and adolescent pairs to be randomized into either the intervention, which utilized the American Academy of Pediatrics family media use plan, and control groups. Both parent and child had to speak and read English. Each pair completed a baseline survey individually and the pairs who were given the intervention also completed a family media use plan. They enrolled 1520 parent and adolescents into the study. They found that the between group difference media rule engagement was –0.1 (95% CI, –1.1 to 0.9).

The researchers concluded that creating and using a family media use plan did not lead to a statistically significant change in the amount of media use engagement for adolescents. They said that further research should look into changing the current media use plan. An editorial that was published alongside the study delved into some of the reasons that can complicate using a family media use plan in adolescents including the increasing use of screens in both education and socialization as well as the urge to fight against parental expectations.


1. Moreno M, Binger K, Zhao Q, Eickhoff J. Effect of a family media use plan on media rule engagement among adolescents. JAMA Pediatr. January 25, 2021. Epub ahead of print. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.5629

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