MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES AND CHILDREN, A CURATE'S EGG; PARENTAL MEDIATION, THE MOTHER'S MILK

Professor Jude Terna Kur

Thursday 2nd December 2021

 The argument in this lecture is that children's experience with media technologies is associated with risks and opportunities (a curate's egg). To ensure media technologies play a meaningful role in the lives of children, there is the need to minimize the risks and maximize the opportunities. Parents are the most appropriate agency to discharge this task, even though other stakeholders in child development to have a role. Parental intervention in children's use of media technologies is known as parental mediation (the mother's egg). There are a couple of parental mediation practices which are broadly categorized under five approaches – restrictive, active, co-use, technical restrictions, and monitoring mediation.
The most appropriate and effective parental mediation strategies are those that are oriented towards authoritative parenting (active and co-use mediation strategies). Other strategies inclined towards the other parenting practices
(authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved) such as monitoring, restrictive and technical mediation strategies could be appropriate and effective in very specific situations. Parents have to understand these situations (which centre on parents,
child and media technologies factors) before adopting the strategies.

Findings of our research into the field of parental mediation in Nigeria, reviewed in this lecture, suggest that parents largely use restrictive strategies in mediating children's use of media technologies, which produce little or no positive results. A few parents use the most promising strategies of active and co-use
mediation. Technical mediation which appears to produce positive outcomes in the digital age is largely unknown to the parents, not to talk of using it. Similarly, evidence is shown in this lecture suggests that parental motive for mediation is large to prevent children's negative experience with media technologies; and not to assist them to maximize the opportunities presented by media technologies. Overall, therefore, this lecture has delivered
a strong case for appropriate parental mediation deficit in Nigeria.