Title: How parents of little children manage digital devices at home
Publisher: London School of Economics and Political Science
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC96732
ISSN: 2045-256X
URI: http://www.lse.ac.uk/media@lse/research/EUKidsOnline/EU%20Kids%20Online%20reports.aspx
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Despite being often ambivalent regarding the potential benefits and risks of digital media, parents begin thinking about, and finding ways to manage, the digital media use of their children when they are very young. Partly, they act out of already-established styles of parenting and family values, extending these to ICT uses at home as soon as these begin. Partly, they are already mediating the activities of their older children, and they adjust their approach to include their younger children. Partly, they are led to intervene when they see their young children respond to digital devices in ways that worry them (spending too long on one activity, staring at the screen, behaving badly when the device is taken away, etc.). However, their good intentions are often hindered by a host of everyday life practicalities. Families of different socio-economic background and education differed in their parenting styles, supporting Clark’s distinction between poorer/less educated families endorsing an ‘ethic of respectful connectedness’ and wealthier/more educated families endorsing an ‘ethic of expressive empowerment’. This was found to translate loosely – with many exceptions – into restrictive and active strategies of ICT mediation. The relationship between parenting style and parental regulation of digital devices is however mediated by parents’ own familiarity with ICT. Across all the family types, when parents had particular expertise in ICT, because of work or interests, they were more confident of managing their children’s ICT activities and more engaged in them. For all parents, but especially those who lack confidence, experience or expertise in relation to ICTs, the study revealed a need for policy and practitioner support in relation to:  The benefits of internet use (e.g. recommended imaginative or educational sites and apps).  The risks of internet use (e.g. commercial risks or non-appropriate age content).  The use of technical tools to manage children’s internet use (e.g. safety settings, passwords, privacy protection and content filters).  Communication strategies to facilitate shared activities using digital devices and parent-child discussions about preferred values and practices and how to address problems.
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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