Parental Digital Mediation According to the Age of Minors: From Restraint and Control to Active Mediation
Rebeca Suárez-Álvarez, Tamara Vázquez-Barrio y Belinda de Frutos-Torres
Research shows that parental mediation is essential for the introduction of minors into the digital environment and their development therein as well as to reduce their exposure to online risks. The present study examines parental strategies depending on whether minors are (dis)connected to the Internet and whether they differ according to their age. The motivations for minors to connect are also examined in relation to the frequency to which they connect to the Internet (activities related to school or learning, interacting with friends, and being entertained). The sample consists of 776 Spanish families with minors aged 5–17. Results show that parental mediation depends on the age of the minor, parental mediation strategies are more restrictive when minors are younger, and as their age increases strategies become more dialogue and collaboration oriented. In adolescence, parents mainly control internet purchases, yet they become more flexible with minors’ presence on social networks. The conclusions reveal that parental mediation is in the process of evolving from a restrictive approach to one that is more empathetic. The change in mediation is due to a greater awareness of the relevance of proper use of the Internet for the well-being of their children.
Keywords: Social networks, paarental mediation, minors, children, motivations