PhD Project: An investigation into the impact of Digital Device Use on Young Children's Motor and Cognitive Development

Job Description

Modern Society has embraced the use of technology into our daily lives providing numerous benefits in terms of productivity, communication and leisure time pursuits. The access and availability of digital devices has become increasingly prevalent and as such children of younger and younger ages are becoming increasingly engaged.
However, the World Health Organization has recommended that children under the age of five should not spend more than one hour a day watching television (or videos, playing games on a phone/tablet device etc) and screen time is not recommended at all for infants under the age of one (WHO, 2019). Contrary to these recommendations however, numerous studies have shown that many children are exceeding these levels. As screen time is seen as a leisure time activity which takes time away from other activities such as play, socializing or
being physically active which are formative in child development, there may be impact on children’s development. However, at present there is limited research investigating screen time behaviours in young children and less seeking to assess the impact of these behaviours on normative developmental milestones for child cognitive and motor skill development. Therefore this project seeks to examine levels of screen time amongst preschool children, assess the impact on typical developmental trajectory of children and explore parental attitudes toward screen time use in young children.

Student Requirements

A Level 8 Degree qualification at minimum 2.1 Grade in area of Education, Psychology, Nursing or Sports Science or related field (applications will be accepted from candidates pending degree awards in 2022, where evidence of current GPA is provided)
• Research Skills – Completion of research methods training
• Excellent Communication skills, in particular, report writing and presentation skills, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills
• Strong time management and organisational skills, attention to detail

Specific Requirements

• Knowledge of child development (specifically motor or cognitive) and underlying theories (completion of relevant module/s)
• Evidence of expertise in data collection, data management and analysis (Qualitative or Quantitative)
• Completion of an undergraduate thesis project

Desirable Experience

• A Masters degree in a cognate discipline
• Experience working with young children
• Experience of motor skill assessment
• Experience of mixed methods research projects

To submit an application, please complete the Application Form at