Parenting in the Digital Age: An Examination of Predictors and Outcomes of Parental Mediation

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Hong, Irene
parental mediation , technology , parenting , adolescence , theory of planned behaviour , cyberbullying
Parents are important socializing agents who influence their children’s development throughout childhood and adolescence. The parenting practices they choose to engage in or not can have significant impacts on youth outcomes, including mitigating risks associated with technology use in adolescence. There is limited research, however, focused on understanding factors that influence parents’ decisions to engage in parental mediation (i.e., practices to manage youth technology use). As well, few studies have examined how child-factors (perceived parental legitimacy and parent-child disagreement about parental messaging) may influence the effectiveness of parental mediation on cyberbullying. The objectives of the current research were to investigate factors that predict parents’ use of parental mediation and assess the effects of mediation strategies (enabling and restrictive) on youth’s online experiences. In the first study, a self-report measure of parental mediation grounded in theory (Predicting Parental Mediation Questionnaire; PPMQ) was developed and validated. Results indicated that the scale is a psychometrically valid instrument. The second study examined what factors best predict parents’ use of mediation strategies, using the newly developed measure from Study 1. Findings indicated that attitude and perceived behavioural control emerged as the best predictors of parents’ intentions to use both enabling and restrictive mediation. The third study assessed the influence of child-factors on the effectiveness of parental mediation in reducing cyberbullying perpetration and victimization in youth. It found that child-factors (perceived parental legitimacy and parent-child disagreement) strengthened this relationship for restrictive mediation but not enabling mediation. Together, these findings emphasize the bidirectional relationship between parents and children and demonstrate the need to consider both parent and child factors when examining youth technology use.
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