Parental Technology Governance: Teenagers’ Understandings and Responses to Parental Digital Mediation
Keywords:Digital Parenting, Parental Online Governance and Mediation, Information Communications Technologies, Youth and Teenagers, Cyber Risk
Research on parental mediation of children’s online engagements situate historically longstanding anxieties within the dynamics of present-day information communications technologies (i.e., concerns over new “cyber risks,” as well as opportunities). Yet, there remains a lack of emphasis on children’s reactions to and experiences with parental strategies and responses. In the current article, we highlight research involving semi-structured focus groups (n=35) with Canadian teenagers (n=115). We highlight themes directly related to parental digital mediation, including the role of ICTs in driving addictive behaviors, social connection, differences in parental responses between sons and daughters, and differences concerning age and birth order. Disrupting cultural discourses of young people who lack agency in relation to their use of ICTs, our discussions with teens reveal qualified support, even degrees of sympathy, for parental efforts to restrict access and use of digital technologies, but illuminate multifaceted reasons for resistance: their vital role not only for social connection but access to crucial information and knowledge.
Adorjan, Michael and Rosemary Ricciardelli. 2021. “Smartphone and Social Media Addiction: Exploring the Perceptions and Experiences of Canadian Teenagers.” Canadian Review of Sociology 58(1):45-64. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/cars.12319
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/cars.12319
Agatston, Patricia, Robin Kowalski, and Susan Limber. 2007. “Students’ Perspectives on Cyber Bullying.” Journal of Adolescent Health 41(6):S59-S60.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.09.003
Allen, Kathleen. 2012. “Off the Radar and Ubiquitous: Text Messaging and Its Relationship to ‘Drama’ and Cyberbullying in an Affluent, Academically Rigorous US High School.” Journal of Youth Studies 15(1):99-117.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13676261.2011.630994
Bailey, Jane and Valerie Steeves. 2013. “Will the Real Digital Girl Please Stand Up?: Examining the Gap between Policy Dialogue and Girls’ Accounts of Their Digital Existence.” Pp. 41-66 in New Visualities, New Technologies: The New Ecstasy of Communication, edited by J. M. Wise and H. Koskela. Farnham: Ashgate.
Bailey, Jane and Valerie Steeves, eds. 2015. eGirls, eCitizens. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.
Bailey, Jane et al. 2013. “Negotiating with Gender Stereotypes on Social Networking Sites: From ‘Bicycle Face’ to Facebook.” Journal of Communication Inquiry 37(2):91-112.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0196859912473777
Barron, Carol. 2014. “‘I Had No Credit to Ring You Back’: Children’s Strategies of Negotiation and Resistance to Parental Surveillance via Mobile Phones.” Surveillance & Society 12(3):401-413.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.24908/ss.v12i3.4966
Benedetto, Loredana and Massimo Ingrassia. 2020. “Digital Parenting: Raising and Protecting Children in Media World.” Pp. 127-148 in Parenting-Studies by an Ecocultural and Transactional Perspective, edited by L. Benedetto and M. Ingrassia. London: IntechOpen.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.92579
boyd, dana. 2008. “Why Youth ♥ Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life.” Pp. 119-142 in Youth, Identity, and Digital Media, edited by D. Buckingham. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
boyd, dana. 2014. It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. London: Yale University Press.
boyd, dana and Eszter Hargittai. 2013. “Connected and Concerned: Variation in Parents’ Online Safety Concerns.” Policy & Internet 5(3):245-269.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/1944-2866.POI332
Cabello-Hutt, Tania, Patricio Cabello, and Magdalena Claro. 2018. “Online Opportunities and Risks for Children and Adolescents: The Role of Digital Skills, Age, Gender and Parental Mediation in Brazil.” New Media & Society 20(7):2411-2431. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444817724168
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444817724168
Eastin, Matthew S., Bradley S. Greenberg, and Linda Hofschire. 2006. “Parenting the Internet.” Journal of Communication 56(3):486-504. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.2006.00297.x
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.2006.00297.x
Gabriel, Fleur. 2014. “Sexting, Selfies and Self-Harm: Young People, Social Media and the Performance of Self-Development.” Media International Australia 151(1):104-112.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1329878X1415100114
Gabriels, Katleen. 2016. “‘I Keep a Close Watch on This Child of Mine’: A Moral Critique of Other-Tracking Apps.” Ethics and Information Technology 18(3):175-184.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10676-016-9405-1
Garland, David. 1996. “The Limits of the Sovereign State.” British Journal of Criminology 36(4):445-471.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.bjc.a014105
Goffman, Erving. 1959. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
Hargittai, Eszter. 2002. “Second-Level Digital Divide: Differences in People’s Online Skills.” First Monday 7(4). Retrieved January 19, 2022 http://firstmonday.org/article/view/942/864
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v7i4.942
Hays, Sharon. 1996. The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Hinduja, Sameer and Justin Patchin. 2009. Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Hinduja, Sameer and Justin Patchin. 2014. Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Holloway, Donell. 2017. “The Panopticon Kitchen: The Materiality of Parental Surveillance in the Family Home.” Pp. 1-11 in Refereed Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference 2017—Communication Worlds: Access, Voice, Diversity, Engagement. Retrieved February 17, 2022 https://ro.ecu.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6076&context=ecuworkspost2013
Jeffery, Catherine Page. 2018. “Too Sexy Too Soon, or Just Another Moral Panic? Sexualization, Children, and ‘Technopanics’ in the Australian Media 2004-2015.” Feminist Media Studies 18(3):366-380. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2017.1367699
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2017.1367699
Jeffery, Catherine Page. 2020. “‘It’s Really Difficult. We’ve Only Got Each Other to Talk to.’ Monitoring, Mediation and Good Parenting in Australia in the Digital Age.” Journal of Children and Media 15(2):202-217. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/17482798.2020.1744458
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17482798.2020.1744458
Jeffery, Catherine Page. 2021. “Parenting in the Digital Age: Between Socio-Biological and Socio-Technological Development.” New Media & Society 23(5):1045-1062. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444820908606
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444820908606
Jenkins, Henry et al. 2018. By Any Media Necessary: The New Youth Activism, vol. 3. New York: New York University Press.
Johnson, Matthew. 2015. “Digital Literacy and Digital Citizenship: Approaches to Girls’ Online Experiences.” Pp. 339-360 in eGirls, eCitizens, edited by J. Bailey and V. Steeves. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.
Keegan Eamon, Mary. 2004. “Digital Divide in Computer Access and Use between Poor and Non-Poor Youth.” The Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare 31(2):91-112.
Kerr, Margaret and Håkan Stattin. 2000. “What Parents Know, How They Know It, and Several Forms of Adolescent Adjustment: Further Support for a Reinterpretation of Monitoring.” Developmental Psychology 36(3):366-380.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-16220.127.116.116
Lau, Wilfred and Allan Yuen. 2013. “Adolescents’ Risky Online Behaviours: The Influence of Gender, Religion, and Parenting Style.” Computers in Human Behavior 29(6):2690-2696.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.07.005
Lee, Sook-Jung. 2013. “Parental Restrictive Mediation of Children’s Internet Use: Effective for What and for Whom?” New Media & Society 15(4):466-481.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444812452412
Li, Caina et al. 2014. “Internet Addiction among Chinese Adolescents: The Effect of Parental Behavior and Self-Control.” Computers in Human Behaviour 41:1-7.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.09.001
Livingstone, Sonia. 2008. “Taking Risky Opportunities in Youthful Content Creation: Teenagers’ Use of Social Networking Sites for Intimacy, Privacy and Self-Expression.” New Media &Society 10(3):393-411.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444808089415
Livingstone, Sonia. 2009. Children and the Internet: Great Expectations, Challenging Realities. Malden, MA: Polity Press.
Livingstone, Sonia. 2020. “Digital by Default: The New Normal of Family Life under COVID-19.” British Politics and Policy at LSE. Retrieved January 19, 2022 https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/digital-by-default/
Livingstone, Sonia and Alicia Blum-Ross. 2021. Parenting for a Digital Future: How Hopes and Fears about Technology Shape Children’s Lives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780190874698.001.0001
Livingstone, Sonia and Ellen Helsper. 2008. “Parental Mediation of Children’s Internet Use.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 52(4):581-599.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/08838150802437396
Livingstone, Sonia and Julian Sefton-Green. 2016. The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age. New York: New York University Press.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.18574/nyu/9781479884575.001.0001
Loader, Ian. 2006. “Fall of the ‘Platonic Guardians’: Liberalism, Criminology and Political Responses to Crime in England and Wales.” British Journal of Criminology 46(4):561- 586.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azi091
Madianou, Mirca and Daniel Miller. 2011. “Mobile Phone Parenting: Reconfiguring Relationships between Filipina Migrant Mothers and Their Left-Behind Children.” New Media & Society 13(3):457-470.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444810393903
Marker, Brandon. 2011. Sexting as Moral Panic: An Exploratory Study into the Media’s Construction of Sexting. Masters of Science. Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky.
Marwick, Alice and dana boyd. 2014. “Networked Privacy: How Teenagers Negotiate Context in Social Media.” New Media & Society 16(7):1051-1067.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444814543995
Marx, Gary and Valerie Steeves. 2010. “From the Beginning: Children as Subjects and Agents of Surveillance.” Surveillance & Society 7(3/4):192-230.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.24908/ss.v7i3/4.4152
Morgan, David. 1997. Focus Groups as Qualitative Research, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi: Sage.
Nagata, Jason, Hoda Abdel Magid, and Kelley Gabriel. 2020. “Screen Time for Children and Adolescents during the COVID‐19 Pandemic.” Obesity 28(9):1582-1583. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.22917
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.22917
Nathanson, Amy. 1999. “Identifying and Explaining the Relationship between Parental Mediation and Children’s Aggression.” Communication Research 26(2):124-143.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/009365099026002002
Nelson, Margaret. 2010. Parenting Out of Control: Anxious Parents in Uncertain Times. New York: New York University Press.
Notten, Natascha and Peter Nikken. 2016. “Boys and Girls Taking Risks Online: A Gendered Perspective on Social Context and Adolescents’ Risky Online Behavior.” New Media & Society 18(6):966-988.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444814552379
Oberst, Ursula et al. 2017. “Negative Consequences from Heavy Social Networking in Adolescents: The Mediating Role of Fear of Missing Out.” Journal of Adolescence 55:51-60. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2016.12.008
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2016.12.008
Orgilés, Mireia et al. 2020. “Immediate Psychological Effects of the COVID-19 Quarantine in Youth from Italy and Spain.” SSRN. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3588552
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/5bpfz
Przybylski, Andrew et al. 2013. “Motivational, Emotional, and Behavioral Correlates of Fear of Missing Out.” Computers in Human Behavior 29(4):1841-1848.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.02.014
Racz, Sarah and Robert McMahon. 2011. “The Relationship between Parental Knowledge and Monitoring and Child and Adolescent Conduct Problems: A 10-Year Update.” Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review 14(4):377-398.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10567-011-0099-y
Ramsetty, Anita and Cristin Adams. 2020. “Impact of the Digital Divide in the Age of COVID-19.” Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 27(7):1147-1148. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/jamia/ocaa078
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jamia/ocaa078
Ranson, Gillan. 2018. The Parents and Children Project: Raising Kids in Canada Today. Rock Mills Press.
Sanders, Wesley et al. 2016. “Parental Perceptions of Technology and Technology-Focused Parenting: Associations with Youth Screen Time.” Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 44:28-38.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2016.02.005
Shin, Wonsun and May Lwin. 2017. “How Does ‘Talking about the Internet with Others’ Affect Teenagers’ Experience of Online Risks? The Role of Active Mediation by Parents, Peers, and School Teachers.” New Media & Society 19(7):1109-1126. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444815626612
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444815626612
Spencer, Jack. 2005. “It’s Not as Simple as It Seems: Ambiguous Culpability and Ambivalent Affect in News Representations of Violent Youth.” Symbolic Interaction 28(1):47-65.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/si.2005.28.1.47
Stanko, Elizabeth. 1997. “Safety Talk: Conceptualising Women’s Risk Assessment as a Technology of the Soul.” Theoretical Criminology 1(4):479-499.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1362480697001004004
Steeves, Valerie. 2014. Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Life Online. Ottawa: MediaSmarts.
Strauss, Anselm and Juliet Corbin. 1990. Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Taylor, Emmeline and Tonya Rooney. 2016. Surveillance Futures: Social and Ethical Implications of New Technologies for Children and Young People. London: Routledge.
Tripp, Lisa. 2011. “‘The Computer Is Not for You to Be Looking Around, It Is for Schoolwork’: Challenges for Digital Inclusion as Latino Immigrant Families Negotiate Children’s Access to the Internet.” New Media & Society 13(4):552-567.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444810375293
Twinn, Sheila. 1998. “An Analysis of the Effectiveness of Focus Groups as a Method of Qualitative Data Collection with Chinese Populations in Nursing Research.” Journal of Advanced Nursing 28(3):654-661.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2648.1998.00708.x
Valkenburg, Patti et al. 1999. “Developing a Scale to Assess Three Styles of Television Mediation: ‘Instructive Mediation,’ ‘Restrictive Mediation,’ and ‘Social Coviewing.’” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 43(1):52-66.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/08838159909364474
Vandebosch, Heidi and Katrien Van Cleemput. 2008. “Defining Cyberbullying: A Qualitative Research into the Perceptions of Youngsters.” Cyberpsychology and Behavior 11(4):499- 503.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1089/cpb.2007.0042
Vickery, Jacqueline. 2017. Worried about the Wrong Things: Youth, Risk, and Opportunity in the Digital World. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/10653.001.0001
Wall, Glenda. 2021. “Being a Good Digital Parent: Representations of Parents, Youth and the Parent–Youth Relationship in Expert Advice.” Families, Relationships and Societies. doi: https://doi.org/10.1332/204674321X16146846761768
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1332/204674321X16146846761768
Wartella, Ellen et al. 2013. “Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology.” Report for the Center on Media and Human Development, School of Communication, Northwestern University. Retrieved February 17, 2022 https://cmhd.northwestern.edu/events/parenting-in-the-age-of-digital-technology/
Yardi, Sarita and Amy Bruckman. 2012. “Income, Race, and Class: Exploring Socioeconomic Differences in Family Technology Use.” Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. doi: https://doi.org/10.1145/2207676.2208716
Google Scholar DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2207676.2208716
How to Cite
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.