Using short message (SMS) and multimedia messaging (MMS) to encourage positive parent–child engagement around literacy and language development

Sarah Pila*, Alexis Re Lauricella, Ellen Wartella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research on language development suggests that children from low-income families hear nearly 30 million words less than their higher income counterparts (Hart & Risley, 1999). This paper explores parent perceptions and attitudes toward two mobile interventions (Text4baby and Univision Contigo) designed to support parents’ engagement with their young children as a way of reducing the language gap and improving child outcomes. We conducted eight focus groups with parents who were users of either service. Using general inductive analysis of the transcript data, we found that parents enrolled in the Text4baby service were relatively unaware of the video text messages and almost never clicked the links. Univision Contigo users, on the other hand, more frequently recalled seeing videos encouraging parent–child interaction and particularly liked that these videos came as multimedia messages (MMS). We interpret findings through a social cognitive theory lens and provide recommendations for incorporating video into parent-targeted mobile interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-285
Number of pages21
JournalMobile Media and Communication
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2019

Keywords

  • MMS
  • SMS
  • Text4baby
  • language development
  • mobile health
  • text messaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Media Technology
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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