Implications of low or high media use among parents for young children’s media use

Special issue: Young Children’s Use of Digital Media and Parental Mediation

Using an online questionnaire among 1,381 parents (children 0-7 years) in the Netherlands I investigated a) the congruence between the time that parents and children spend on various media; b) how several parent, child and household characteristics vary among four family types: low, moderate, high, and very high media consumers; and c) which characteristics most strongly differentiate these four family types. The analyses reveal that parents vary widely in their media consumption (from about 1 to more than 6½ hours media per day). Since the children’s media use parallels their parent’s, parents seem to provide an important example in the home. Data also show that lower and higher use families differ significantly on income, education level, number of devices at home, views on media for children, ease of applying co-active mediation and children’s proficiency in media use. Finally, the four family types can best be distinguished on the basis of quantity characteristics (education level, number of screens at home, time spent by children on media) and quality characteristics (type of media content used, ease of mediation, views on media for children). Consequences for young children’s development and parenting support are described.

Family media use; parental mediation; socioeconomic status; media-literacy; reading

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