The Role of Parents in Shaping the Influence of Media Exposure on Children’s Well-Being

Authored by: Eric E. Rasmussen , Rebecca L. Densley

The Routledge Handbook of Media Use and Well-Being

Print publication date:  July  2016
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138886582
eBook ISBN: 9781315714752
Adobe ISBN: 9781317501954


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From infancy, a parent’s influence is felt in every aspect of a child’s life. The importance of parents in the development and maintenance of children’s well-being has led to the conclusion that “parenting is fundamental to the success of the human race” (Borkowski, Ramey, & Bristol-Power, 2002, p. ix). Because children spend more time with media than in any other activity, besides perhaps sleeping (Rideout, Foehr, & Roberts, 2010), parents’ role in children’s responses to media exposure is especially meaningful. Parents, scholars, and policymakers have devoted substantial effort to exploring how to both enhance the potentially positive effects of media exposure and prevent the potentially negative influence of media exposure on children’s well-being (Buijzen & Valkenburg, 2005; Chakroff & Nathanson, 2008). From this research we have learned that parental mediation – parent–child interactions about media – is perhaps the most important factor in shaping how children are affected by media exposure (Austin, Hust, & Kistler, 2009; Chakroff & Nathanson, 2008; Nathanson, 2001).

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