M. Appleberry

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Melissa Clucas Walter

Degree Name

B.S. (Bachelor of Science)

Legacy Department

School of Family, Consumer and Nutrition Sciences


Parent-child interactions are vital to children’s growth and development. The quality of parent-child interactions shape the child’s cognitive and language development. As society becomes increasingly technologically advanced, it is important to consider how technology might impact the quality of parent-child interactions, particularly with young children. The purpose of this literature review was to analyze and evaluate research concerning how parent-child interactions differ when using a physical toy vs technology. Nine studies focusing on parent-child interactions with children between the ages of 16-36 months were reviewed. Results of the review indicate that parents typically engage in higher quality interactions with their children when they engage with a physical toy compared to an electronic toy. Yet, when provided with only a technology toy, such as an iPad, parents engage in scaffolding interactions and provide verbal, emotional, and physical support to their child. These findings are important as they point to the importance of physical toys for high quality parent-child interactions, but they also demonstrate that parents can engage in quality interactions using technology as well. All in all, parents should provide both physical and technological toys when interacting with their children to enhance their language and cognitive development. Lastly, concerning future directions within the realm of child development, more research should be conducted as to conclude on what types of toys helps parents interact with their children while scaffolding them as they increase their ability to think and speak for themselves.


13 pages




Northern Illinois University

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In Copyright

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