Feasibility study of technology-enabled prevention intervention for children and families

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Although digital technology has the potential to address the challenges of access, engagement, and scalability that psycho-social prevention interventions face when trying to reach families of primary school children, existing research on technology-enabled interventions for families remains limited. The aim of this qualitative pilot study was to investigate the engagement, acceptability, and initial subjective indicators of emotion regulatory effects during 1-week in-situ deployments of a low-cost, bespoke prototype, which has been designed to support children's in-the-moment emotion regulation. This prototype instantiates a novel intervention model that aims to address the existing limitations by delivering the intervention through an interactive object (a `smart toy') sent home with the child, without any prior training necessary for either the child or their carer. Ten families (altogether 11 children aged 6-10 years) were recruited from three underprivileged communities in the UK, and children were given the toy to keep at home for 7-8 days, after which we interviewed each child and their parent about their experience with the toy. Across all 10 families, participants reported that the toy was incorporated into children's emotion regulation practices and engaged with naturally in moments children wanted to relax or calm down. The data suggest acceptability of the toy from both parents and children, strong engagement and indications of emotion-regulatory effects. More broadly, our findings suggest the potential of a technology-enabled shift in how prevention interventions are designed and delivered: empowering children and parents through `child-led, situated interventions', where participants learn through actionable support directly within family life, as opposed to didactic in-person workshops and a subsequent skills application.

Slovak, P. (2019, March 8). Feasibility study of technology-enabled prevention intervention for children and families. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/e56p9

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