Parental mediation of adolescents’ technology use
Unequal parenting practices
Keywords:parental mediation, intensive parenting, adolescence, digital inequality
This study explores parental mediation – its patterns, purpose and intention, the intentions behind it, and related social inequalities – from the perspective of the ideal of intensive parenting. Parental mediation in the form of restricting or monitoring teenagers’ technology use might mitigate the harm of the intensive or risky online behaviour. Moreover, active mediation strategies might improve the teenagers’ digital literacy by obtaining specific skills that foster appropriate online behaviour. Therefore, the paper argues that parental mediation has become a highly relevant aspect of contemporary parenting practices.
The paper is based on thematic analyses of semi-structured interviews on children’s screen time and parental mediation strategies. The interviews were carried out with 29 parents of adolescents in Hungary in 2019. The findings show that restriction and active mediation primarily aimed at protecting children from risks, as a resource-intensive practice, form part of the contemporary parenting skill set. This study contributes to understanding how these skills constitute a digital cultural capital, and thereby how parenting can enhance the digital inequality.
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