I am currently Faculty Early Career Award Fellow at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. My research focuses on understanding how social and technological environments shape the health and well-being of individuals. Currently, I am working on a number of research projects related to media use among children and youths and how it affects their well-being, parent-child communication and dietary preferences among children, as well as technological affordances for health. One major project I am working on right now is the collection and analysis of young people’s screenomes in Singapore, and identifying how different strains of media use affect youth well-being. A second major project I am working on is in understanding what constitutes high- versus low-quality digital media use for preschoolers.
PhD in Communication, 2019
Nanyang Technological University
BA in Communication, 2014
Nanyang Technological University
These research projects aim to understand how media use and consumption affect children and adolescents’ health and well-being.
In this project, I identify the features and theoretical processes behind effective parenting strategies in encouraging healthier food consumption among children.
Research examining the effect of parenting practices on child food consumption has often neglected the role in which global aspects of parenting – such as parenting style – play in shaping children’s dietary behaviors. To address this gap, the parenting style-as-context model was used to examine the moderating effects of parenting style – defined as the perceived emotional climate communicated to children by their parents – on the association between parental guidance of food consumption and children’s beliefs surrounding food. A cross-sectional survey of 1,113 child/adolescent participants between the ages of 9 and 18 was conducted to test the theoretical propositions derived from the parenting style-as-context model. Results suggest desirable relationships between different dimensions of parental guidance of food consumption on children’s beliefs surrounding foods were stronger among children who were under an authoritative parenting style compared to other parenting styles. The results offer some support for the parenting style-as-context model and has theoretical and practical implications for research targeted at understanding the role parents play in inculcating healthy dietary habits among children.
In this op-ed, Professor Lim Sun Sun and I discuss the importance of going beyond a time-based understanding of media use for children. Instead, we highlight the importance of content, context, intention, and risk mitigation. Furthermore, we emphasize the importance of parent-child communication and negotiation, rather than parents using authoritarian and top-down strategies to deal with media use. Overall, we highlight the need to view screen time as opportunities for learning and bonding, rather than something to tackle.
Through a series of 4 studies (focus group discussions involving social media users and 3 nationally representative online surveys) conducted in Singapore, we identify 4 types of competencies in which social media literacy can manifest: technical, social, privacy related, and informational. Using a sequential, exploratory mixed-methods approach, we first identified literacy events and practices that were grounded in social media users’ actual experiences through a series of focus group discussions. Then, based on the qualitative results, we developed and tested a perceived social media literacy (PSML) scale through a series of 3 national online surveys, where we found disparities in PSML based on socioeconomic factors.
An international study across 42 countries was conducted to better understand children’s perception of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the role in which the media plays in shaping these perceptions.
Parents are important sources of influence in the development of healthy eating among children and adolescents. Besides gatekeeping and modeling, parents serve as health educators and promoters, using intentional and persuasive communication to encourage healthier eating preferences and behaviors in children. Despite this, a lack of reliable and valid measures has limited the research on how parent-driven interpersonal communication about foods influence child food consumption outcomes. Building on the research in parental mediation of media consumption, and parenting practices in public health nutrition, this study details the development and validation of the active and restrictive parental guidance questionnaire with a sample of 246 children and adolescents at the scale development phase and another sample of 1,113 children and adolescents at the scale validation phase. Findings show that parents employ four communicative strategies to encourage a healthier diet: active guidance, general discussion, preventive restrictive guidance, and promotive restrictive guidance. The new measure was shown to have good validity and measurement model fit. Implications for future research are discussed.
In this op-ed, my co-author Jeremy Sng and I discuss how video games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons can satisfy important psychological needs during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As Covid-19 brings the world to a standstill, my co-author Lim Sun Sun and I wrote an op-ed that discusses how screen time for children should not be viewed solely from a homogenous time-based perspective, but rather, in a way that takes into account the content and context of media use.
The rapidly increasing volume of health data generated from digital technologies have ushered in an unprecedented opportunity for health research. Despite their promises, big data approaches in understanding human behavior often do not consider conceptual premises that provide meaning to social and behavioral data. In this paper, we update the definition of big data, and review different types and sources of health data that researchers need to grapple with. We highlight three problems in big data approaches—data deluge, data hubris, and data opacity—that are associated with the blind use of computational analysis. Finally, we lay out the importance of cultivating health data sense-making—the ability to integrate theory-led and data-driven approaches to process different types of health data and translating findings into tangible health outcomes—and illustrate how theorizing can matter in the age of big data.
Numerous studies have highlighted the undesirable effects of food advertising on children across the world. However, very few researchers have looked at the impact of food advertising restrictions on the targeted outcomes of these policies. This paper presents three studies that assessed the impact of child food advertising restrictions in Singapore. The studies include (1) a content analysis of television advertisements, (2) a door-to-door household pantry survey of families, and (3) a large-scale survey of school children. Results indicate that the amount of unhealthy food advertising has declined since the policy implementation, children’s cognition about fast- food have shifted desirably, household stocks of a number of unhealthy foods have decreased slightly, and children’s self-reported consumption of unhealthy foods has decreased slightly. Age and gender effects were found, where older children, and girls, show larger differences. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.