New ways of life in the digital world create a special social situation of development of the child, which is characterized by a decrease in the universality and dominance of the adult in the parent-child relationships in online contexts. Nevertheless, children and adolescents still desperately need the support of adults, especially of their parents, to master new online opportunities as well as to cope with online risks. The paper presents data from two studies carried out in 2013 and in 2018 and attempts to compare some of the knowledge and abilities of the parents that they had as assistants and experts helping their children to explore the Internet. These studies were conducted in 8 federal districts of the Russian Federation on the following samples: in 2013 — 1203 adolescents aged 12—17 and 1209 parents; in 2018 — 1554 adolescents aged 12—17 and 1105 parents. The paper traces the changes in the digital portraits of modern parents as Internet users, focusing, in particular, on their awareness of their children’s encounters with online risks and on the dynamics of parental mediation strategies concerning the use of the Internet. There is a clear tendency to reduce the digital gap between the Russian adolescents and their parents which is expressed both in the increasing digital activity of the parents and in their concern with establishing and maintaining close relationships with the children in the context of their Internet activity.
Conducted in recent years Russian population studies of the Internet use by children show that the rapid skills development in children and adolescents is associated with a lack of awareness of the risks and dangers of the digital world, and also the possibilities of coping with them. The paper offers psychological models of digital competence in children and adults including four components: knowledge, skills, motivation, responsibility, as well as types of digital competence, i.e. media competence, communicative competence, technical competence, and consumer competence. The paper performs the results of the development and methods validation of screening diagnosis index of digital competence according to population-based study on a representative sample of Russian 12-17 year-olders (N = 1203) and parents of adolescents in this age group (N = 1209) conducted by the Foundation for Internet Development and the Department of Psychology, Moscow Lomonosov State University, Moscow, Russia with Google support. Reliability-consistency scales of the knowledge skills and responsibility was sufficient (0.72-0.90) with inhomogeneity of motivation scale. The confirmatory factor analysis proved the compliance of the 4-component index model to the empirical data. To verify the validity of the criteria we used the four tests assessing the respondents’ knowledge and skills in the areas of content, communication, technosphere and consumption sphere. The overall level of digital competence was for parents, 31 per cent from of the highest possible level, and for adolescents, the level was 34 per cent, with particular decline in motivation (20 per cent and 20 per cent respectively), which indicates the necessaity for motivating and informing educational programs in this area.