Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name





Anxiety, COVID-19, Depression, Social support, Technology use, Well-being


K. Babb


R. Menna



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Many children spend a significant amount of time using technology throughout the day. This was particularly true during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many activities that had initially been conducted in-person had to transition to an online modality. Some technology use could be seen as beneficial, whereas others could be seen as harmful. The present study used baseline data from a longitudinal study examining the effects of COVID-19 on child mental health to explore how technology had been used during the pandemic, as well as the perceived benefits and problems associated with its use. In total, 190 families (190 caregivers and 158 children) completed an online questionnaire in June/July of 2020; questions related to child technology use, psychopathology symptoms, demographics, and other contextual variables. Caregivers and children reported changes in the frequency of child technology use; patterns generally showed higher percentages of participants reporting higher frequencies of use, with the exception of computer use. Discrepancies were found between caregiver and child reports of child texting, social media, internet, and video game use. There was evidence to suggest that problem-focused technology-based coping strategies and social-focused technology-based coping strategies were associated with reports of higher levels of child well-being compared to emotion-focused technology-based coping strategies. Higher child internalizing symptoms were generally found to be associated with using higher proportions of emotion-focused technology-based coping strategies. No significant associations were found between COVID-19 saliency in children’s lives and the types of technology-based coping strategies used by children. Few caregivers and children reported that technology use had a negative impact on children’s well-being, suggesting that overall, technology appeared to be a helpful coping strategy during the pandemic.

Included in

Psychology Commons