Social media usage and parent–child bonding: a case of pre-primary children in Kampala city central division, Uganda
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Parents‟ use of social media is an increasing phenomenon especially in urbanized community like in Kampala - Uganda. Due to accessibility of internet and computer literacy of the parents creating a virtual way of communication; while all these are a welcome development, there is concern that parent‟s engagement with social media prevents them from giving quality time to their children that is essential for the parent child bonding. The general objective of the study was to assess the influence of social media usage on parent-child bonding among children attending pre-primary schools in Kampala Central Division and the specific objectives were to -asses the types and role of social media usage on parent-child play, to establish the effects of social media usage and duration on parent-child cuddling and to explore the influence of social media use on parent-child communication. A cross-sectional survey design which involves the analysis of data collected from a population, or a representative subset, at one specific point in time using both qualitative and quantitative techniques. The study was conducted in 10 Pre-primary schools located in Kampala central division among purposively selected 10 Head Teacher, 20 class Teacher, 100 children and 100 corresponding parent. Interview guide, questionnaires and observation checklist were used to collect data. The study found out that there was no significant relationship between social media usage and parent child play in this study (P= 0.773). The study also found out that there was no relationship between social media usage and child cuddling (p=0.06) with 90% parents having said they do not use social media while communicating with children while 87.5 % said social media does not interrupt them. Children were observed to relate with parents as majority of the parents 46.2% parents checked their phones frequently hence there was no significant relationship between parent social media usage and child bonding. The study concluded that despite the increasing concern that social media affects interaction; the link was not seen in this study. There is gap of information on how much and which social media affects child bonding. Whereas most parents claimed that use of social media does not affect bonding, a lot of studies and teacher observations show that time on social media is increasingly affecting the time parents spend with their children. It is possible that other factors outside social media might influence parent child bonding. The study recommended that parents should prioritize their children in their schedule to allow bonding and stimulation. Guidelines on parenting in the context of social media are of the essence globally given the rise in social media usage. The study also recommends that head teachers and teachers sensitizing parents about the effect of social media and why quality interaction is important in early years.