In an article published in Human Communication Research, CcaM researchers Ine Beyens, Patti Valkenburg, and Jessica Piotrowski present a developmental approach to parental media mediation. They show that parents’ mediation increases across early childhood, peak around age 8, and then slowly decline throughout middle childhood.
A large body of literature has described the opportunities of parental mediation to enhance positive and offset negative media effects. However, how such mediation develops across childhood is still unclear. Beyens and colleagues analyzed parent-report data of 729 children to investigate development of restrictive and active mediation across early (3-6 years) and middle childhood (7-10 years) and individual differences in this development.
Results show that restrictive and active mediation follows a curvilinear pattern over time, whereby parents slowly increase their mediation efforts across early childhood, until children reach middle childhood, after which parents slowly reduce their mediation efforts. Findings also suggest that parents adapt their mediation efforts to match their child’s developmental level, as well as their changing media preferences and susceptibility to media effects.