The advent of the Internet ushered in a new era known as the Digital Age. The digitization that came with this era also brought social changes. Among all social structures, the family is the one that has been most affected by these changes (Zeybekoğlu Akbaş & Dursun, 2020). In order to maintain the family structure, a healthy communication between families is necessary. This digital revolution has led to a change in the role of parents. Digital parenting has emerged as a new role and the attitudes displayed by parents regarding this role have been named digital parenting attitudes (Bakan & Bakan, 2017; Dursun, 2020; İnan Kaya et al., 2018).
In this study, the effects of the attitudes of Turkish parents of Gen-Z adolescents toward their children’s use of digital media tools on their relationship with their children are investigated. The effects of the parent-child relationship in the adolescent period on children’s social behavior are known. The importance and necessity of this study becomes apparent when considering the indispensable position of information technologies and new communication devices. Moreover, although there are many studies on the impact of parenting attitudes on parent-child relationships (Bi et al., 2018), the lack of research on the impact of digital parenting attitudes on today’s Gen-Z adolescents makes this study unique. The study first provides a definition of digital parenting and explains its importance. It then provides an explanation of Diana Baumrind’s classification of parenting attitudes, which she called "parenting style". Finally, the effects of the adolescent period and the parenting attitudes perceived during it on the parent-adolescent relationship.
This study examines whether the attitudes of parents of Gen-Z adolescents toward their children’s digital media use affect their relationships with their children. Parental attitudes will be examined in two different forms: attitudes of approval of their children’s effective use of digital media tools, and attitudes of protection of their children from the possible risks of digital media. The hypotheses are as follows:
H1: Parents’ attitude of approval of their children’s use of digital media has a positive effect on their relationship.
H2: Parents’ attitude of protecting their children from the risks of digital media has a positive effect on their relationship.
This study is an exploratory research using a general survey model. The data were collected through the method of Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing model, using pre-prepared questionnaires. The research population of this study consists of digital parents of Gen-Z adolescents in Turkey. WHO defines the adolescent period as 10-19 years old. The research sample consists of parents of 10-19 years old adolescents who regularly use the Internet and live in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, the three cities with the highest population density in Turkey. The scope of this research includes 234 mothers and 166 fathers, each of whom is the parent of only one adolescent. The research was conducted using the snowball sampling method. Participants were contacted by phone prior to the study, and parents who regularly used the Internet were asked to complete a survey form, as they were more likely to be new media literate.
Parenting attitudes were measured using the Digital Parenting Attitude Scale developed by İnan Kaya et al. (2018). The scale consists of two subscales and a total of 12 items. The Parent-Adolescent Relationship Scale developed by Hair et al. (2020) was used to measure the parent-adolescent relationship from the parent’s side. The original scale of Hair et al. (2020) was developed to measure the parent-adolescent relationship from the adolescent side and consisted of two scales and 8 questions. The new scale is used to measure the relationship from the parent side and consists of a single scale with 7 questions. A 5-point Likert scale was used for the responses. Higher score means stronger relationship.
The regression analysis method was chosen to measure the effect of attitudes towards digital parenting on the relationship between parents and Generation Z adolescents. The regression model was created in such a way that the Parent-Adolescent Child Relationship Scale was the dependent variable and the subdimensions of the Digital Parenting Scale were the independent variables. SPSS 25.0 and AMOS 21.0 were used for data analysis.
Factor analysis was used on the data collected from the pilot program with 33 participants. Two questions that showed low correlation were removed, resulting in the final scale of a single factor 5 questions. The final scale was administered to 400 parents. The scale was first tested for validity and reliability using exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA).
The KMO test result was 0.807 and the Bartlett’s test result was very close to 0.000, and the data is suitable for factor analysis. As a result of the factor analysis, it was found that the factor belonging to the scale accounted for 59.29% of the total variance. Cronbach’s alpha for this factor was calculated as 0.804, and the scale was considered reliable. To test the structural validity of the scale, CFA was applied using the maximum likelihood method. As a result of the analysis, the fit index values were calculated as CMIN/DF=2.918, CFI=0.987, RMSEA=0.070, GFI=0.987, NFI=0.980, IFI=0.987. Considering this, it was assessed that all index values were significant, the level of model fit was very good and the Parent-Adolescent Child Relationship Scale provided structural validity.
It has been expressed by İnan Kaya et al. (2018) that the Digital Parenting Attitude Scale is a safe and valid measurement tool and the reliability has been tested again with EFA for this sample group. Again, both dimensions of the scale were shown to be reliable. Before proceeding with the multiple regression analysis, the necessary prerequisites were tested in turn. After ensuring that the variables had a normal distribution, the correlation analysis was used to test whether there was a linear relationship between the variables. The correlation value between the independent variables was found to be 0.430 and the VIF value was found to be 1.227, and it was seen that there was no problem with multicollinearity. As a result of the analysis, the extreme values were removed, the standardized errors were between -2.763 and 2.387, and the maximum Cook’s distance was calculated as 0.126, and it was seen that there was no problem in terms of extreme values. Then, the interpretation of the regression analysis was started by testing that the errors of the estimates had a normal distribution and that the conditions of homoscedasticity were met.
Sig.=0.000 and B=0.206 coefficients of the independent variable "Approval" indicate that this variable has a significant positive effect on the dependent variable "Relationship" and the H1 hypothesis is accepted. Sig.=0.000 and B=0.186 coefficients of the independent variables "Protection" indicate that the variable has a significant positive effect on the dependent variable "Relationship" and H2 hypothesis is accepted. This result shows that the parents of Generation Z children who try to both support and protect their children in the use of digital media tools have a positive effect on their relationships with their children.
According to the results of the regression analysis, both scales of digital parenting attitudes have a positive effect on the parentchild relationship. The results of the analysis of the first scale, that is, the approval scale, show that parents’ supportive attitude toward their children’s use of digital media has a positive effect on the parent-child relationship. The Acceptance Scale includes parents’ evaluations related to motivating their children to take advantage of digital media platforms for education, information acquisition, and communication. The results of the analysis of the second scale, that is, the protection scale, show that parents’ attitudes towards protecting their children from the possible risks of digital media have a positive effect on their relationship. The protection scale includes parents’ anxiety about the risks of using digital media platforms and the harmful effects of overuse, as well as their demands for restrictions to protect their children from these dangers.
Baumrind examines parental attitudes in three categories: authoritarian, democratic, and permissive. Maccoby and Martin examined these three categories as "responsiveness" and "demandingness". Responsiveness includes awareness of children’s needs, support, and attitudes toward self-expression and self-management, whereas demandingness includes efforts at supervision, discipline, and control. The study examines parents’ permissive and protective attitudes as responsiveness and demandingness. The study may imply that parents’ approval and protection behaviors indicate that digital parenting attitudes have an effect on the parent-child relationship. The results of the study correlate with those of the research concluding that democratic parenting attitudes shape parent-adolescent relationships. Following Sümer & Güngör’s (1999) findings that adolescents’ satisfaction is directly related to the approval and interest they receive from their parents, parents’ approval of their children’s use of digital media has a positive effect on their relationship with their children.
Ebeveynlik biçimleri, ebeveyn-çocuk ilişkisinin sağlıklı sürdürülebilmesinde etkin rol oynamaktadır. Gelişen teknoloji ve dĳitalleşme ile birlikte ortaya çıkan dĳital medya araçları, dĳital dünyanın içine doğan Z kuşağı çocuklarının hayatında önemli bir yer tutmaktadır. Ebeveynler de çocukları için artık vazgeçilmez olan bu unsur karşısında hem onları desteklemek, hem de olası risklerden korumak adına dĳitalleşmeye yönelik yeni ebeveynlik tutumları geliştirmektedir. Çalışmada bu dĳital ebeveynlik tutumlarının, ebeveynlerin ergenlik döneminde olan çocukları ile ilişkisini nasıl etkilediği araştırılmaktadır. Çalışma kapsamında Z kuşağı ergen çocuk sahibi 400 ebeveyn ile yapılandırılmış tarama çalışması yapılmıştır. Dĳital ebeveynlik tutumları, çocukları dĳital medya araçlarını kullanma konusunda destekleme ve bu araçların olası risklerinden koruma alt boyutlarında incelenmiş olup, bu boyutların ebeveynlerin çocukları ile olan ilişkisine etkisini ölçmek için çoklu regresyon analizi uygulanmıştır. Kullanılan ölçeklerin geçerlilik ve güvenilirliklerinin test edilmesinde açımlayıcı ve doğrulayıcı faktör analizlerinden faydalanılmıştır. Araştırma sonuçları ebeveynlerin, dĳital medya konusunda çocuklarını hem destekleme hem de koruma yönünde geliştirdikleri dĳital ebeveynlik tutumlarının çocukları ile olan ilişkilerini olumlu yönde etkilediğini göstermektedir.