chinese-meisjesIn a time of media abundance, effective regulation of teens’ media use is crucial. Many parents know how difficult it can be to regulate teens’ media use. Efforts to do so easily lead to protests and family conflict. A new study by CcaM researchers has identified effective ways to guide teens’ media use and circumvent family conflict. The study has been published in Human Communication Research.

The study was conducted among 499 Dutch teenagers aged 10 to 14, who were surveyed about their perceptions of their parents’ media-specific parenting. Teens reported how often and in which style their parents restrict and discuss their TV, game, and internet use.

The CcaM study is the first to show that the particular style in which parents restrict or discuss their teens’ media use is critical. For example, if parents regulate their teens media use in an inconsistent way, more family conflict and antisocial behavior occur. Inconsistent media-related parenting refers to teens’ perceptions of their parents’ tendency to be erratic and unpredictable in their parenting, for example when they restrict game playing on one school night but randomly allow it on another.

If parents restrict their teens’ media use in an autonomy-supportive way, less family conflict and more prosocial behavior occur. In autonomy-supportive restrictive style, parents provide a rationale for the restriction and takes a teen’s view seriously.

Media-specific parenting can be successful, even for teens, if it occurs in a consistent and autonomy-supportive way. Consistent and autonomy-supportive parenting is especially important when it comes to teens’ media use, because teens often do not consider parental interventions in their media use acceptable.

The study is conducted by CcaM researchers Patti Valkenburg and Jessica Piotrowski in collaboration with family researcher Jo Hermanns (University of Amsterdam) and Rebecca de Leeuw (Communication Science Radboud University).

Click here to read the article “Developing and validating the perceived parental media mediation scale: A self-determination perspective”.

If you would like more information about this article, please contact the authors– Professor Patti Valkenburg – via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Professor Jessica Piotrowski- via email at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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