In the PARKA project, we investigate how parental mediation (i.e., parenting strategies aimed at regulating children's and adolescents' use of digital technologies) relates to parents' knowledge of what their adolescent children do online.
Family psychology research shows that parental knowledge of children's whereabouts is associated with positive psychosocial adjustment of these children and adolescents. This is closely connected to adolescents' willingness to disclose information about their lives to their parents - whether they share it or hide certain aspects of their lives.
However, relatively little is known specifically about parental awareness of adolescents' online lives. How much do parents of early adolescents actually know about their children’s online activities and experiences? Do different parental mediation strategies help parents improve this knowledge? Can some of these strategies backfire and make adolescents conceal information about their online activities? What prevents adolescents from confiding in their parents when they experience something harmful online? Which online activities and experiences do teenagers consider private and none of their parents' business? And do parents feel the same way?
These are the questions we focus on in the PARKA project. To address them, we will use data from our previous project, FUTURE, and we will also collect new data from dyads of parents and their adolescent children aged 11-14. Specifically, we will investigate teens' online social activities, that is, how they use the internet to interact with other people. These activities include, for example, private communication with friends via Messenger, but also their use of social networking sites or sharing content with a wider audience. Our aim is to identify which parental mediation strategies promote information sharing between adolescents and parents. We also seek to shed light on why parents' awareness of some of their children's online activities is low. Overall, the project will deepen our knowledge of the effects of parental mediation and allow us to formulate specific advice for parents of children in early adolescence.