27/06/2021 Medicine Psychology
DOI: 10.1080/17482798.2021.1921819 SemanticScholar ID: 237862222 MAG: 3177441984

The home literacy and media environment of Saudi toddlers

Publication Summary

ABSTRACT The past few years have witnessed a rapid increase in children’s use of screen media. Despite the widespread use of technology in Saudi Arabia, research on screen media use among young children is scarce. This study provides a comprehensive picture of screen media use and literacy practices among 220 1- to 3-year-olds in Saudi Arabia. Findings showed that the vast majority of these children had started using screens before the age of 2 years. Saudi toddlers’ overall screen time was about 3 hours a day which exceeds screen time recommendations by the World Health Organization. Iftah Ya Simsim (the Arabic version of Sesame Street) was children’s favourite TV show, YouTube was their favourite mobile media app, and children’s songs were their most frequently viewed content type on mobile media. The amount of time toddlers spent with screens was higher than their engagement with reading. More than 40% of the children were never read to, and one quarter had no children’s books at home. Results of this study provide a better understanding of children’s screen use and reading practices; an important first step in guiding the development of research-driven recommendations for all stakeholders on the use of screens by young children. IMPACT SUMMARY a. Prior State of Knowledge: The early years are critical for development. Most existing data on digital media and literacy practices in early childhood comes from Western cultures. Research in other cultures is needed to broaden our global understanding of children’s literacy and media environments. b. Novel Contributions: This study contributes data on the home literacy and screen media use practices of young children in Saudi Arabia, a population that is under-represented in the literature on children’s media use. c. Practical Implications: Findings from this study indicate high engagement with media and low engagement with reading among Saudi toddlers. Understanding children’s literacy and media use practices is an important first step in guiding the development of research-driven recommendations for parents and policymakers.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Ludovica Serratrice

Prof. Ludovica Serratrice

Reading University - Professor of multilingualism

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