Children’s use of new media and parental mediation in the Thai family context: negotiation, agency and autonomy
This thesis investigates the use of new media by children and young people in Thailand, and how Thai parents try to mediate this use. It also explores children and parents’ perceptions of the use of new media and considers their levels of confidence in their digital skills, which in turn has an impact on parental mediation and negotiation of their children’s use of new media. Other issues raised in the study include problems caused by the excessive use of new media, privacy, child autonomy, and the digital generation gap between parents and their children. A mixed methods approach is adopted in the research, using both qualitative and quantitative techniques, including a survey of 1,172 children and young people aged between 9-18 years, and 1,013 parents; and focus group discussions with 59 children and 27 parents.
The study shows that children and young people engage in online activities for three main purposes – to acquire knowledge and information, for entertainment, and for communication purposes – and mostly use multiple new media devices. It also illustrates parental dilemmas concerning the perceived advantages (educational) and disadvantages (antisocial) of new media technologies. Five main types of parental mediation are identified, namely, restrictions, monitoring, supervision, talking to children and co-use. The findings indicate that the type of mediation implemented by parents was strongly determined by the age of their children, with more restrictive types used mainly with younger children and more collaborative types of mediation used with older children. The latter allow greater agency for the child to participate in dialogue and express their ideas regarding new media issues, and this was especially the case for young people who actively sought autonomy and independence.
The study clearly suggests that relative levels of digital confidence/competence are a significant factor in parental mediation and children’s negotiation approaches to using new media, and the results indicate new media use is an area in which reverse socialisation occurs within the Thai family context. The implications of the findings suggest that more effective support systems are needed in Thailand to educate, advocate, and guide parents in building their digital skills and knowledge so that they can develop their self-efficacy in using new media and enhance the effectiveness of their mediation strategies in ways that keep children safe while enabling them to gain maximal benefits from the opportunities presented by new media technologies.
- Social Sciences and Humanities
- Communication and Media
Rights holder© Sunida Siwapathomchai
NotesA doctoral thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
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