Characteristics of Parental Digital Mediation: Predictors, Strategies, and Differences among Children Experiencing Various Parental Mediation Strategies
The process of digitalization has become an integral part of the social situation of a child’s growth in the modern world. Child development in the digital environment demands the involvement of adults as mediators. This practice is called parental digital mediation. Previous studies have identified the significant parental and environmental aspects of parental mediation, but there has been little information about the relationships between the children’s characteristics and parental digital mediation. The current study aims to fill this gap by identifying the behavioral (social network and screen time) and emotional (social network addiction and happiness) predictors of the two dimensions of digital mediation: parental support and parental control. The study also examines the differences among children influenced by various parental mediation strategies. A total of 4011 students (42% male and 58% female) ranging in age from 13 to 15 years (M = 14.07; SD = 0.76) took part in the study. The parental mediation of their children’s internet use, social media addiction, social network time, screen time, and happiness were measured. According to the results, both the behavioral and emotional characteristics of the children served as predictors of parental mediation. A small amount of time spent on social networks or screens and low social media addiction and happiness were identified as the predictors of parental support, whereas a large amount of time spent on social networks and screens and low social media addiction were identified as the predictors of parental control. Three groups of children experiencing different parental mediation strategies were determined. The children with parents who enabled mediation were happier than the others. Children under instructive mediation demonstrated the highest tendency to social media addiction. Children under selective mediation spent the most time (of all groups) on gadgets, but they showed a low tendency towards social media addiction.