From Children to Parents: Children's accounts of Internet-related Family Interactions

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


This article elaborates on youth's perceptions of parental Internet mediation. While attention has been rightly turned towards how parents manage their children's Internet uses and experiences, less is known about how youth experience parental mediation (but see Livingstone and Bober, 2006; Sonck, Nikken and de Haan, 2013). Drawing on parental mediation theory (Schofield Clark, 2011) and empirical research on Internet rule-making strategies of parents (Livingstone and Helsper, 2008; Janz and Nikken, 2012; Eastin, Greenberg and Hofschire, 2006), as well as taking a new sociology of childhood approach (James and Prout, 1997), we explore youth's interpretations and experiences of parental Internet mediation. The research questions that directed this study were: Which understandings do young people have of parental Internet mediation? How do they interpret parental rule-making strategies? How do youth reformulate, incorporate and appropriate parental Internet mediation?
Thirty teenagers aged 14-17 (in 2014), all living in Belgium, were asked in interactive group interviews to share and discuss the rules, hints and nods their parents give them regarding their Internet use. In a follow-up question, the roles were reversed and the participants were invited to educate and counsel their parents regarding their Internet use. Leading interview questions included: Which agreements do you have with your parent(s) regarding your Internet use at home? Did your parent(s) ever give you rules, advice or suggestions about your Internet use? If you could give your parent(s) any rules or advice, what would they be?
While analysis is ongoing, preliminary findings suggest that parental mediation varies widely and that most participants live by and understand the rules their parents have set. Participants' concerns towards the Internet use of their parents focused on technical skills and commercial snares (e.g., "phishing" advertisements, chain letters). Also, participants from highly Internet-regulated homes, tended to be more restrictive towards the Internet use of their parents.
While acknowledging the value of parental regulation and rule-making decisions, this research takes a child-centered approach and, rather than focusing on parents' concerns, it focuses on children's interests, desires and needs when it comes to Internet mediation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Communication Research Association
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2014
EventECREA 2014 - Communication for Empowerment: Citizens, Markets, Innovations - Lusófona University Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 12 Nov 201415 Nov 2014


ConferenceECREA 2014 - Communication for Empowerment: Citizens, Markets, Innovations


  • children
  • internet
  • parental mediation
  • sociology of childhood


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