Parental mediation of online interactions and its relation to adolescents’ contacts with new people online: the role of risk perception
To ensure their children's safety online, parents can utilize number of strategies, including active and restrictive parental mediation. Active mediation encompasses parents discussing and advising children about safe usage of the internet, whereas restrictive mediation means limiting children's internet usage. Both strategies aim to affect children's online behavior, especially to minimize online risks. Using a sample of 1031 adolescents aged 11–17 (54% females) and structural equation modeling, we focused on the active and restrictive parental mediation of online interactions and their connections to adolescents’ potentially risky online contacts with new people. In addition, we considered the indirect effect of parental mediation on adolescents’ behavior through adolescents’ risk perception. In this way, we captured one of the potential explanatory mechanisms through which the parental mediation's effect occurs. The results showed that restrictive mediation decreased contacts with new people by increasing adolescents’ risk perception of this activity. In contrast, active mediation had neither a direct nor indirect effect on adolescents’ online contacts. The results enrich the theory of parental mediation by showing that risk perception is an important factor to consider when researchers examine the effects of parental mediation on children's potentially risky online behavior.