Guiding young children’s internet use at home: Problems that parents experience in their parental mediation and the need for parenting support

Special issue: Mediation of Children´s ICT Usage

Using an online questionnaire among 785 parents (children 0-7 years) in the Netherlands we investigated a) whether parents experience problems when guiding children’s digital media usage, b) whether they feel competent in dealing with these problems, c) whether they need parenting support, and d) how these problems, competences and need for support are related to the characteristics of the parents, the family and the child. The analyses reveal that the parents’ experiences of problems is associated with negative views on media effects, the presence of older siblings living at home and occur especially when their child is active on social media. Parents’ feelings of competence are enhanced by positive views on media effects, older children being present in the home, and the involvement of the young child in educational games and media skill level. Parents feel less confident if their child is active on social media. Support is primarily dependent on the level of problems at hand. Moreover, professionals are consulted especially when parents feel less competent, their child is active on social media and no older siblings are present at home. Parents ask family or friends for advice when they have a negative view on media effects.

parental mediation; parenting support; media diffusion
Author biographies

Peter Nikken

Author photo Peter Nikken, PhD, is Professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, School of History, Culture and Communication, and affiliated to the Netherlands Youth Institute and to the Pedagogy department of Windesheim University for Applied Science. His research interests include media literacy and media education, the beneficial and negative effects of media on children and adolescents, and the mediating role of parents and other co-educators.

Jos de Haan

Author photo Jos de Haan, PhD, is head of the research Group Care, Emancipation and Time Use at the Netherlands Institute of Social Research (SCP) and professor of ICT, Culture and Knowledge Society at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam (EUR). He got his PhD in sociology from Utrecht University (thesis: Research groups in Dutch sociology) and has worked since 1994 with the SCP in the Hague, the Netherlands, where he carries out research dealing with culture, media and ICTs.

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