About the Project

“Digital technology in the family: patterns of behaviour and effects on child development” (D.E.C.I.D.E.) is a research project funded by the Croatian Science Foundation (UIP-2019-04-7547) and the Catholic University of Croatia. The project leader is Marina Merkaš, PhD, Associate Professor.

The implementation of the project began on January 1st, 2020 and will last until December 31st, 2024. The total value of the project is 1,395,550.00 HRK, and the project plans to employ a doctoral fellow and a postdoctoral researcher.

The objectives of the project are to establish a research group and test the newly developed theoretical model about the differential sensitivity of children, parents, and families to the effects of digital technology (DT) and technoference (TI), as well as the existence of direct and indirect effects of DT and TI on child development and well-being.

The project will use qualitative and quantitative methodology. Four research studies will be conducted with children from 0 to 13 years of age and their parents. These studies aim to examine: the motivation, habits, and circumstances of DT use and TI in parents, children and families; the relationship between DT use and TI in children, parents and families with the development and well-being of children; and TI during parent-child interactions and the effects of TI on children behavior.

During the projects, research workshops we will held with the internationally recognized and distinguished professor Patti M. Valkenburg from the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands), professor Sarah M. Coyne from Brigham Young University (Utah, USA) and professor Jenny Radesky from the University School of Medicine in Michigan (Michigan, USA).

The results of the project will be visible in scientific papers, participations at the conferences, professional training and education of young scholars, research workshops, as well as a festival for children and families in the fifth year of the project.

The results of the project are planned to be disseminated in the form of guidelines for better practical activities and life in the digital environment for different groups – children, parents, teachers, practitioners, and creators of educational, social, and family policies.

We hope that the findings of the project will serve as a scientific basis for practical interventions and programs aimed at optimal and positive use of DT in children, parents, and families, because this way is very likely to affect the proximal processes of human development.


E-mail: decide@unicath.hr

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