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What is digital parenting? A systematic review of past measurement and blueprint for the future
Modecki, K.L., Goldberg, R., Wisniewski, P., ORBEN, A.
Perspectives on Psychological Science
Year of publication:
Concerns about parenting adolescents are not new, but the rapid diffusion of digital technologies has heightened anxieties over digital parenting. Findings are decidedly mixed regarding the impact of digital technologies on adolescent wellbeing, and parents are left to navigate their concerns without an empirically based road map. A missing link for understanding the state of the science is a clear characterization of how digital parenting is measured, including an evaluation of which areas demand an outsized share of scientific attention, and which have been overlooked. To address this gap, we undertook two interdisciplinary systematic reviews of the digital parenting literature and characterized measurement across a) quantitative surveys (n = 145 studies) and b) qualitative focus groups and interviews (n = 49 studies). We describe previously popular areas of survey measurement that are of decreasing relevance to parenting of digital spaces (e.g., co-use, hovering). We likewise highlight areas that have been overlooked, including consideration of positive uses of digital technologies, acknowledgement of bi-directional influence, and attention to heterogeneity among families and to extra-parental social ecologies of support and monitoring. We provide recommendations for the future of digital parenting research, proposing a more comprehensive approach to measuring how we parent modern adolescents.