Doctoral dissertation

Aku Kallio: Parental mediation of children’s television viewing as social interaction

M. Soc. Sc. Aku Kallio examines in his doctoral dissertation parent’s participation in their children’s media use. By using video recordings of everyday parent-child interactions in media use situations hevexamines how parents verbally and bodily participate in their children’s television viewing.

This study focuses on how parents supervise, support and control the viewing. The actions and practices of everyday encounters are seen as interactional achievements in in and through which socialization is realized in micro level. In addition to parents’ socializing actions, this dissertation also focuses on children as active agents in their own socialization process.

The extensive video recorded data on Finnish families’ (26 families) everyday life and media use gathered by the Media, Family Interaction and Well-being project (2011–2015), funded by Academy of Finland, is used as the data of the study.

Ethnomethodology functions as the theoretical-methodological basis for this study. Applied conversation analysis and multimodal interaction analysis serve as research methods. A detailed micro level analysis of family interaction is achieved by utilizing these methods. Examining naturally occurring interaction in which the child faces two main socialization agents, the media and the parents, enables the study of the socialization process as it occurs for the child in his/her everyday encounters. The micro level analysis offers an interactional approach to examine how the parents participate in their children’s media use.

The thesis examines how the media and its contents is negotiated in the families. This main theme is scrutinized from several different perspectives: 1) how the parents talk to their children about the television contents, 2) what kind of questions the children ask regarding the contents, and how the parents answer to these questions, 3) how the parents response to the children’s emotional displays during the viewing, and 4) how the parents and the children negotiate the restrictions and rules regarding the viewing.

The results reveal three different orientations in participating children’s television viewing: the children are protected from the media influence, the television is used as a tool for education, and the television brings family member together and functions as a part of families’ everyday cooperation. Thus, the thesis expands the earlier understanding on parents’ participation in children’s television viewing.

The parents mediate their children’s viewing by providing information, emotional support and making moral assessments. With these practices the parents not only guide and control the viewing, but also pass on the cultural knowledge and the norms and values of the society, construct togetherness amongst the family members and enhance the children’s emotional skills. The children’s agency is manifested especially in how the children negotiate their relationship with media, and how they offer their parents a position in which the parents are expected to mediate the viewing process.

The study contributes especially to our knowledge on how socialization takes place in the micro level in the everyday family life.

The doctoral dissertation of M. Soc. Sc. Aku Kallio in the field of social psychology titled Lasten televisionkäytön valvonta perheiden vuorovaikutuksellisina käytänteinä will be publicly examined at the Faculty of Social Sciences at 12 o'clock on Friday 16 April, 2021. Professor Sara Routarinne from the University of Turku will be the opponent while Professor Johanna Ruusuvuori will act as the custos.

The event can be followed via remote connection

The dissertation is avalable online at



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