Technology’s impact on the parent-infant attachment relationship: Intervening through FirstPlay® therapy.

This article examines the overall impact of technology on the parent—child attachment relationship. Increased household media use may prevent parents from spending quality time on activities that could foster healthy child development. Infants and children must now compete for their parents’ attention with media outlets. This cyber effect now poses a new modern-day threat that can impede the development of healthy attachment relationships (Aiken, 2016; Courtney & Nowakowski-Sims, 2018). Practitioners who work with children should understand how technology and media are experienced and managed by parents with a thorough assessment. Helping parents understand the relationship between their technology use and attachment experience brings awareness to the issue and is the first step toward making changes. A new infant play therapy (manualized) intervention adapted from Developmental Play Therapy called FirstPlay® Therapy Infant Storytelling Massage is offered as one approach to enhance attachment and bonding. A case vignette is presented in which a Certified FirstPlay Practitioner worked with a new teenage mother and her 4-week-old infant to guide, supervise, model, and facilitate a FirstPlay Infant Storytelling Massage session. The goal was to promote attachment and bonding and to address the issue of concerning technology use. The FirstPlay Practitioner was able to help the mother bond with her infant through real live “FaceTime” as experienced through joyful and nurturing first-play story-massage techniques. Overall recommendations to practitioners related to technology engagement for infants, children and parents is presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)