Associations Between Nature Exposure, Screen Use, and Parent-Child Relations: a Scoping Review Protocol.


Background: Today’s youth are growing up in an evolving digital world and concerns about the potential detrimental effects of excessive screen use on biopsychosocial outcomes in childhood are mounting. Parents worry about the impacts of screen-use on their children’s wellbeing, but at the same time frequently fail to meet their own ideal screen-time limits regarding their children’s screen use. There is an opportunity to shift research focus away from inflexible and often unrealistic childhood screen time guidelines towards exploration of positive parenting strategies that may have multiple beneficial and significant effects on children’s screen related outcomes. An emerging body of literature suggests that screen-time and nature exposure act on psychosocial outcomes in contrasting ways. There is evidence to suggest that exposure to natural environments may counteract some of the potential negative psychosocial effects of excessive screen use however this relationship is poorly understood. The overarching aim of this scoping review is to source, categorise, and synthesise existing research exploring the associations between nature exposure, screen use, and parenting across childhood.

Methods: This mixed-methods systematic scoping review will be conducted following Arksey and O’Malley’s framework with methodological enhancements from Levac and associates and recommendations from the Joanna Briggs Institute’s methodological guidance for conducting scoping reviews. Five electronic databases will be searched from July 2022 onwards. Two reviewers will independently screen titles, abstracts, and full-text articles. Peer reviewed articles related to the constructs of nature exposure, screen use, and parent/child relations will be considered in the context of early to late childhood. Study characteristics will be collated using a data charting tool collaboratively developed by the research team. Evidence will be synthesised using tabular and narrative form and described using qualitative thematic analysis.

Discussion: This review will gather information about how key definitions are conceptualised, defined, and measured across the literature, and map existing trends and areas for future research. It is intended that this review will inform and guide future research direction, recommendations and programs aimed at supporting parents to navigate the challenges of parenting in a digital age.

Read the Research


Marina Torjinski, Sharon Horwood

We Acknowledge
Nature Play WA acknowledges the Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation, as the custodians of the land where our team lives and works. We also acknowledge the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and recognise the continuing connection of Indigenous people to their land, waters, sky, culture and community. We pay our respect to all Indigenous people of this land; ancestors, elders and young ones.