Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 271–280 | Cite as

Family Dynamics in Digital Homes: The Role Played by Parental Mediation in Young Children’s Digital Practices Around 14 European Countries

  • Rita Brito
  • Rita Francisco
  • Patrícia DiasEmail author
  • Stephane Chaudron
Original Paper


In contemporary society, digital media are fully integrated in our daily lives, indispensable for our routines, always connected and at-hand. Our research thus explores the parental mediation of portable digital devices in families with young children, addressing the following questions: (a) which are the most common parental mediation styles adopted towards young children; and (b) which individual features of the parents or contextual factors influence the parental mediation style adopted. Our methodology is exploratory and qualitative, considering as empirical corpus 14 national reports from the European-scale study “Young Children (0–8) and Digital Technologies” for a comparative thematic analysis. The authoritative style was the most common parental mediation style related to technology use. In general, there are transversal rules to all parental mediation styles (except laissez-faire style), such as withdraw or give devices to children according to their behavior, control (inappropriate) content and control the time of use. Also, parental perceptions and attitudes about the technologies played a heavier weight on the parental mediation style adopted, and consequently influenced the relationship of the children with digital media. Some implications for future studies, preventive actions, and family therapy are discussed.


Young children Digital media Parental mediation Perceptions Practices 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UIDEF – Instituto de EducaçãoUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Faculdade de Ciências HumanasUniversidade Católica PortuguesaLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Research Center for Psychological Science (CICPSI), Faculdade de PsicologiaUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  4. 4.Research Centre for Communication and CultureUniversidade Católica PortuguesaLisbonPortugal
  5. 5.Joint Research CenterEuropean CommissionIspraItaly

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