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Smart Toddlers

The smartphone has become an essential part of our daily lives. But up to now, little is known about how smartphone use affects the parent-child relationship in early childhood. The Smart Toddlers research study aims to generate new findings on this question.

Research study Smart Toddlers

We are interested in the influence of parental smartphone use on parent-child interaction, in mobile device use by the child and in various aspects of child development. Data will be collected by online questionnaire at three time points: when the child is 14 months, 20 months, and 3 years old. Additionally, we will conduct interviews with some parents: This will allow more in-depth exploration of parents’ perspectives on their smartphone use and possible influences on the parent-child relationship. Additionally, parent-child interactions will be video-recorded, as we would like to learn more about children’s reactions to smartphone use.

Research study aims

Up to now, young parents have not really had outside guidance on the question of how the use of digital media can affect their relationships with their children. To be able to provide parents of young children with evidence-based advice on using smartphones, we need detailed research findings on smartphone use and its possible effect on parent-child interactions in early childhood. The Smart Toddlers study will generate such knowledge. This will help us to make research-based recommendations regarding smartphone use in early childhood.

Two departments – One research goal

This study is being conducted in cooperation by researchers at the ZHAW School of Applied Psychology and the ZHAW School of Health Sciences under the Swiss National Science Foundation research initiative “Digital Lives.”

The research team in the Clinical Psychology and Health Psychology section at the ZHAW School of Applied Psychology conducts research with a focus on psychotherapy, counseling, and diagnostics with adults and children as well as infant research. The research unit at the Institute of Midwifery of the ZHAW School of Health Sciences conducts research with a focus on sustainable midwifery to promote the health of women, their children, and their families.

Project Leader

Project Team


You can also find our publications and other articles on Facebook: Facebook group "Smart Toddlers"