Background. Digital socialization is understood to be mediated by all available digital technological processes for mastering and appropriating a social experience online. Understanding of this new type of socialization requires studying parental mediation strategies for children’s online activity, as well as the level of digital literacy of both children and parents, including through the prism of adolescents’ confrontation with online risks.
Objective. To study digital socialization and the role of parents in this process; to reveal relationships between parental user activity, mediation, and digital competence, and adolescents’ user activity, digital competence, and experience of online risks.
Design. The study was conducted on the basis of the EU Kids Online 2017–2019 survey methodology. The sample consisted of 1,553 schoolchildren aged 12–17 and 1,219 parents of adolescents the same age, all from the Russian Federation.
Results. The findings show that parents underestimate the online risks faced by adolescents, especially the most common communication and content online risks. Adolescents often do not notice parental “restrictive” and “active“ mediation of their online activities. Adolescents’ request for parental help with their online difficulties depends not on the parents’ digital competence, but on their active mediation. In following parental active mediation and safety mediation strategies, adolescents are more likely to face online risks, but at the same time they use active coping strategies. The negative relationship between the adolescents’ digital competence and parental restrictive mediation and technical control suggests that excessive control and limitations hinder the development of knowledge and skills in the safe mastering of the Internet.
Conclusion. The digital gap between adolescents and parents is observed both in confrontation with online risks and awareness of this experience, and in the application of parental mediation strategies. Parental active mediation provides stronger digital socialization and more constructive ways of coping with the threats of the digital world – online risks, which are the consequence of deep immersion into this world.
Keywords: digital socialization, adolescents, parental mediation, digital competence, online risks