I am a recent graduate of the MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology at LSE. My dissertation was inspired by becoming a first time mother and grappling with the role technology, specifically digital media, plays in the life of my young son. My research sought to explore the perceptions and practices of parents with young children on their digital media use and that of their children. Prior to LSE, I have worked predominantly in the commercial sector with over fifteen years of blue chip client, marketing and advertising agency experience as a creative branding and planning specialist.
A double edged sword: a multi methods approach to understanding parenting and digital media use.
Supervisor: Sandra Jovchelovitch
This research explored the perceptions and practices of parents with young children on their digital media use and that of their children. It also investigated which, if any, demographic or parental attitudinal variables had an association with parent’s digital media use (PDMU), children’s digital media use (CDMU) and number of devices (NoD). A multi-methods design was used, comprising one qualitative and one quantitative study. Twenty-four qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 couples and 6 mothers (n = 42). Thematic analysis was conducted to analyse and determine common patterns. The quantitative study consisted of secondary analyses of the “Parenting for a Digital Future” survey data set shared by Professor Sonia Livingstone in the Department of Media and Communications at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Three multi-variate logistic regression models were run: 1) PDMU against demographic and parental attitudinal explanatory variables; 2) CDMU against the same explanatory variables as the first, as well as PDMU; 3) NoD used by parents against the same explanatory variables used in the second model. The qualitative findings suggested themes characterising the dichotomy of digital media – although digital media facilitates parenting and brings many benefits, it can also lead to disenfranchised parenting and questionable media role modelling behaviour by parents. Furthermore, parents have coping strategies to mitigate concerns around their children’s digital media use, suggesting a balanced approach is key to keeping digital “harmony”. The quantitative study showed the following results: 1) education is associated with PDMU; 2) child’s age, parents’ views on DMU and sharing practices are associated with CDMU; and 3) gender, SES, parents’ views on DMU and PDMU were associated with the NoD used.