Zoom-ing Through Development: Using Video Chat to Support Family Connections During COVID-19

Video chat may allow young children and grandparents to develop and maintain bonds when they are physically separated because it enables them to share experiences with each other in real time. We used an ecological model framework to examine factors associated with the development of the grandparent–grandchild relationship during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many families were experiencing reduced opportunities for in-person interaction. We analyzed survey data from grandparents (N = 855) and parents (N = 846) of children ages 0–5 years. Predictor variables included participant characteristics (age and education level), proximity variables (geographical distance and whether grandparents had met their grandchildren in person), as well as video chat-specific factors (e.g., frequency of video chats, activities used during video chats). The frequency of video chat and the variety of behaviors engaged in during the video chats predicted grandparents' feelings of closeness to their grandchild as well as grandparents' and parents' enjoyment of family video chats. These predictors were statistically significant after controlling for participant characteristics and physical proximity, suggesting that when families are separated (e.g., due to pandemics, deployment, geographic distance, etc.) family video chats may help to build and maintain grandparent–grandchild connections in an enjoyable way. One future implication is that family video chat may introduce children to the connection between screen and world, a supportive first step in understanding and using technology.

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: [Zooming through development: Using video chat to support family connections. Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies (2021)], which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/hbe2.268. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions: https://authorservices.wiley.com/author-resources/Journal-Authors/licensing/self-archiving.html#3.


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Work Title Zoom-ing Through Development: Using Video Chat to Support Family Connections During COVID-19
Open Access
  1. Gabrielle A. Strouse
  2. Elisabeth McClure
  3. Lauren J. Myers
  4. Jennifer M. Zosh
  5. Georgene L. Troseth
  6. Olivia Blanchfield
  7. Ellen Roche
  8. Subul Malik
  9. Rachel Barr
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Hindawi Limited
Publication Date June 24, 2021
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. 10.1002/hbe2.268
  1. Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies
Deposited June 15, 2022




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Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added HBET_for sharing-1.docx
  • Added Creator Gabrielle A. Strouse
  • Added Creator Elisabeth McClure
  • Added Creator Lauren J. Myers
  • Added Creator Jennifer M. Zosh
  • Added Creator Georgene L. Troseth
  • Added Creator Olivia Blanchfield
  • Added Creator Ellen Roche
  • Added Creator Subul Malik
  • Added Creator Rachel Barr
  • Published