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Journal ArticleDOI

Parental Mediation of Television: Test of a German-speaking scale and findings on the impact of parental attitudes, sociodemographic and family factors in German-speaking Switzerland

22 Jul 2009-Journal of Children and Media (Taylor & Francis Group)-Vol. 3, Iss: 3, pp 286-302
TL;DR: In this article, a German-speaking scale for measuring parental mediation of television is tested and various factors influencing television mediation are investigated, including parental attitudes toward television, family interaction patterns, and children's age.
Abstract: In the present study a German-speaking scale for measuring parental mediation of television is tested and various factors influencing television mediation are investigated. 252 German-speaking Swiss parents of children aged 3 to 14 answered questions about their mediation behavior and possible determinants. The results confirm international research findings. Active and restrictive mediation as well as coviewing are identified as important mediation styles in German-speaking Switzerland. Though in detail the mediation styles show different determinant patterns, altogether parental attitudes toward television, family interaction patterns, and children's age prove to be central determinants of television mediation styles. Sociodemographic and structural factors seem to become less important.

Summary (2 min read)

Parental Mediation of Television

  • According to international research there are three mediation styles: restrictive mediation, active or instructive mediation, and coviewing (Buerkel-Rothfuss & Buerkel, 2001; Valkenburg et al., 1999) .
  • Supplementation is further information that sheds light on the content's usefulness.
  • Recent investigations conducted in the US reveal that active mediation is the form of mediation applied most frequently by parents, followed by coviewing (Austin et al., 1999) , and restrictive mediation respectively (Warren, Gerke, & Kelly, 2002) .
  • The more parents set rules for children's television viewing, the more they also discuss the content with them and the more they watch television together.
  • The strongest connection is found between active and restrictive mediation as well as between active mediation and coviewing (Lin & Atkin, 1989; Valkenburg et al., 1999) .

Factors Influencing Parental Mediation of Television

  • In international research a series of factors has been identified which influence parental mediation of television.
  • Warren et al. (2002) proved coviewing and parental education to be negatively correlated.
  • The more time parents spend in front of television, the more children do, too (Su ¨ss, 2004) .
  • Similarly, parental involvement, i.e. the amount of time parents spend at home and together with their child, influences television mediation (Warren et al., 2002) .

Measuring Parental Mediation of Television in German-speaking Countries

  • Some of these standardized instruments use only a few questions that are not very detailed (e.g. Feierabend & Rathgeb, 2006; Su ¨ss, 2004) .
  • This does not apply for German-speaking Switzerland.
  • This hypothesis therefore assumes: H1: Parents' attitudes toward television influence parents' mediation styles more than the sociodemography of the parents and the child, structural and social surroundings of the family, and family interaction patterns.

Method

  • Using standardized questionnaires in face-to-face interviews, 252 German-speaking Swiss parents of children aged 3 to 14 were asked to report on their television mediation behavior as well as on the amount of children's television viewing, structural and social surroundings of the family, parents' television attitudes, and family interaction patterns.
  • To get valid results for television mediation behavior of German-speaking Swiss parents of children aged 3 to 14, respondents were recruited using a quota sample.
  • Based on current demographic data of the Swiss Bundesamt fu ¨r Statistik, fourteen trained interviewers received combined quotes on children's sex and age as well as on parents' education.
  • Interviews took place from February to March 2005 at respondents' homes.
  • Interviews lasted between 25 and 60 minutes.

Measures

  • As it is one main goal of the current study to test the television mediation items developed by Valkenburg et al. (1999) in German-speaking Europe, these items have been adopted and translated into German.
  • High scores indicate a more frequent behavior with answers ranging from 1 ("never") to 5 ("always").
  • Two more items asking about the frequency of parents telling children more about the things watched on television and the realism of the content have been borrowed from Austin et al.
  • Following Valkenburg et al., parents were asked to indicate the frequency of the mediation behaviors.

Parental attitudes toward television

  • In accordance with previous research (e.g. Austin et al., 1999; Valkenburg et al., 1999) , parents' attitudes toward television content was measured asking for their concern about negative effects of television on their child, as well as for possible positive effects of television on children in general.
  • Two further items tap parents' concerns of television induced fright (e.g.
  • Again, all items have been answered using a five-point scale ("do not agree at all" to "fully agree").
  • According to the parents, the atmosphere and interaction between family members is highly open and communicative (M ¼ 4.24, SD ¼ 0.51).
  • Parents were asked to fill in a diary with the time and program the child watched the previous day.

Results

  • Research Question 1 asked if the television mediation styles identified by Valkenburg et al. (1999) can also be identified for German-speaking Swiss parents.
  • Excluding all items with factor loadings , .40 on all factors, items with high and similiar double loadings (i.e. difference of loadings ,.20), items which were not interpretable on a factor, and items which form a not interpretable factor analysis resulted in a three factor solution (see Table 1 ).
  • There is no correlation between the restrictive mediation and coviewing scale.
  • In contrast to restrictive mediation, active mediation is affected most by the family communication style and interaction and parental concerns about negative effects of television.
  • Though parental concerns about negative effects of television are relevant in affecting coviewing, factors such as the child's age and family interaction prove to be at least just as important.

Discussion

  • Having tested a German version of scales measuring television mediation, the present study investigated television mediation in German-speaking Switzerland and factors affecting it.
  • Findings demonstrated that German-speaking Swiss parents frequently apply restrictive and active mediation as well as coviewing.
  • Taking into account that the last two factors might also be the result of missing restrictions and that there is a significant positive correlation between family interaction patterns and parental concerns about negative effects of television, this suggests that restrictive mediation, too, is used by parents to protect their child from harmful effects.
  • Findings indicate that parental encouragement does not reflect a simply affirmative attitude toward television, but a rather reflective and deliberate exposure to children's television usage (St. Peters, Fitch, Huston, Wright, & Eakins, 1991) .

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Year:2009
ParentalMediationofTelevision:TestofaGerman-speakingscaleand
ndingsontheImpactofparentalattitudes,sociodemographicandFamily
factorsinGerman-speakingSwitzerland
cking,Saskia;cking,Tabea
Abstract: InthepresentstudyaGerman-speakingscaleformeasuringparentalmediationoftelevision
istested andvariousfactors inuencingtelevisionmediationare investigated.252German-speaking
Swissparentsofchildrenaged3to14answeredquestionsabouttheirmediationbehaviorandpossible
determinants.Theresultsconrminternationalresearchndings.Activeandrestrictivemediationas
wellascoviewingareidentiedasimportantmediationstylesinGerman-speakingSwitzerland.Though
indetailthemediationstylesshowdierentdeterminantpatterns,altogetherparentalattitudestoward
television,familyinteractionpatterns,andchildren’sageprovetobecentraldeterminantsoftelevision
mediationstyles.Sociodemographicandstructuralfactorsseemtobecomelessimportant.
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/17482790902999959
PostedattheZurichOpenRepositoryandArchive,UniversityofZurich
ZORAURL:https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-94838
JournalArticle
PublishedVersion
Originallypublishedat:
cking,Saskia;cking,Tabea(2009).ParentalMediationofTelevision:TestofaGerman-speaking
scaleandndingsontheImpactofparentalattitudes,sociodemographicandFamilyfactorsinGerman-
speakingSwitzerland.JournalofChildrenandMedia,3(3):286-302.
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/17482790902999959

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Parental Mediat ion of Television
Saskia Böcking & Tabea Böcking
Published online: 22 Jul 2009.
To cit e this article: Saskia Böcking & Tabea Böcking (2009) Parent al Mediat ion of Television, Journal
of Children and Media, 3:3, 286-302, DOI: 10. 1080/ 17482790902999959
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PARENTAL MEDIATION OF TELEVISION
Test of a German-speaking scale and findings
on the impact of parental attitudes,
sociodemographic and family factors in
German-speaking Switzerland
Saskia Bo
¨
cking and Tabea Bo
¨
cking
In the present study a German-speaking scale for measuring parental mediation of television is
tested and various factors influencing television mediation are investigated. 252 German-speaking
Swiss parents of children aged 3 to 14 answered questions about their mediation behavior and
possible determinants. The results confirm international research findings. Active and restrictive
mediation as well as coviewing are identified as important mediation styles in German-speaking
Switzerland. Though in detail the mediation styles show different determinant patterns, altogether
parental attitudes toward television, family interaction patterns, and children’s age prove to be
central determinants of television mediation styles. Sociodemographic and structural factors seem
to become less important.
KEYWORDS active mediation; children; coviewing; influencing factors; instructive mediation;
parental mediation styles; restrictive mediation; scale development; television
Even in times of new media, television remains the medium most liked by children
and, due to its potential for negative effects, most feared by mothers in German-speaking
Europe (Feierabend & Rathgeb, 2006). Vast research on parental mediation of children’s
television usage has been conducted that has not only centered on general descriptions of
television mediation (e.g. Bybee, Robinson, & Turow, 1982), but also on its determinants
(e.g. Austin, Bolls, Fujioka, & Engelbertson, 1999; Valkenburg, Krcmar, Peeters, & Marseille,
1999) and (at least in the US) on its effects on children’s development and socialization (e.g.
Nathanson & Cantor, 2000). The majority of such investigations (mostly dominated by a
quantitative research paradigm) has been conducted in the US and The Netherlands. In
German-speaking Europe, qualitative studies (e.g. Neumann-Braun, Charlton, & Roesler,
1993) and studies combining both qualitative and quantitative approaches (Hurrelmann,
Hammer, & Stelberg, 1996; Schorb & Theunert, 2001) outnumber the quantitative studies.
However, standardized measures are required in order to systematically analyze the effects
of parental mediation of television on children’s processing, understanding, and learning of
televised content. Although some investigations conducted in Germany or Switzerland do
contain measures regarding parental mediation of television (e.g. Schorb & Theunert, 2001;
Su
¨
ss, 2004), the questions and items used are neither standardized nor reliable. The present
study aims at testing a standardized instrument for measuring parental mediation of
Journal of Children and Media, Vol. 3, No. 3, 2009
ISSN 1748-2798 print/1748-2801 online/09/030286-302
q 2009 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/17482790902999959
Downloaded by [UZH Hauptbibliothek / Zentralbibliothek Zürich] at 08:36 01 April 2014

television which can be applied in research in German-speaking Europe. A second goal of
the investigation is to provide up-to-date data on television mediation of German-speaking
Swiss parents. In this context, the importance of various determinants of parental
mediation is also systematically tested.
Parental Mediation of Television
According to international research there are three mediation styles: restrictive
mediation, active or instructive mediation, and coviewing (Buerkel-Rothfuss & Buerkel,
2001; Valkenburg et al., 1999). Restrictive mediation, also called restrictive guidance (Bybee
et al., 1982; van der Voort, Nikken, & von Lil, 1992), encompasses parental behavior
constraining children’s television usage, such as limiting a child’s viewing time or restricting
the content they are allowed to watch. Parents’ activities and explanations which give
children a better understanding of television content are called active or instructive
mediation.
1
Such explanations can also imply appraisals of the content. Referring to this,
Austin et al. (1999) differentiate between categorization, validation, and supplementation.
Categorization means that parents classify television content as real or not real. Validation
refers to (dis-)approval of televised portrayals by the child’s parents. Supplementation is
further information that sheds light on the content’s usefulness. The understanding of
active mediation developed by Valkenburg et al. (1999) mainly refers to the aspects called
categorization and validation by Austin et al., i.e. the discussion of television content by
parent and child. Finally, coviewing means that parents and children watch television
together. Some researchers assume that children watch programs selected by their
parents together with them (Bybee et al., 1982). Others regard shared television usage
by parents and children as the result of shared interests and motives (Valkenburg
et al., 1999). As coviewing can come along with active mediation, the line between
both is not always drawn clearly (Buerkel-Rothfuss & Buerkel, 2001). The best way
to distinguish active mediation and coviewing is to follow the differentiation by
Valkenburg et al., which has been empirically validated. In contrast to active mediation,
coviewing is not based on parents’ intention. It occurs accidentally (Dorr, Kovaric, &
Doubleday, 1989).
Recent investigations conducted in the US reveal that active mediation is the form of
mediation applied most frequently by parents, followed by coviewing (Austin et al., 1999),
and restrictive mediation respectively (Warren, Gerke, & Kelly, 2002). Parents more
frequently tell their children which things they do not like in a program than which things
they agree on (Austin et al., 1999; Fujioka & Austin, 2003). The reason for this behavior can
be seen in the fact that affirmative comments are only an expansion of everyday life
conversation and therefore occur rather by accident than intentionally. In contrast, hints on
contorted or even false content are the outcome of a critical attitude and parents’ wish to
protect the child (Austin & Pinkleton, 2001). Similar results can be found for The
Netherlands, though parents here prefer coviewing to active mediation (Valkenburg et al.,
1999). Altogether, parents indicate to frequently use these forms of television mediation. A
similar pattern can be observed in German-speaking Europe (e.g. Schorb & Theunert, 2001;
Su
¨
ss, 2004).
Parents do not use active and restrictive mediation and coviewing exclusively.
Correlation analyses reveal close connections between the three mediation styles.
The more parents set rules for children’s television viewing, the more they also discuss the
SWISS PARENTAL TV MEDIATION
287
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content with them and the more they watch television together. The strongest connection
is found between active and restrictive mediation as well as between active mediation and
coviewing (Lin & Atkin, 1989; Valkenburg et al., 1999). The latter correlation is due to the fact
that watching television together with the child is a prerequisite for parents’ explanations.
Indeed, watching television together does not automatically imply that parents explain
things to their child or criticize televised behavior. However, their sheer presence makes
active mediation more probable, even if it does not necessarily happen. Parents often
watch television together with a child due to a shared interest in a program instead of
the requirement to mediate actively. This holds especially true for older children
(Kotler, Wright, & Huston, 2001). Additionally, parents’ comments when coviewing with a
child are mostly positive in nature, i.e. parents signal the child their endorsement of the
program (Austin et al., 1999).
Factors Influencing Parental Mediation of Television
In international research a series of factors has been identified which influence
parental mediation of television. They span three fields: sociodemography of the parents
and the child, structural and social surroundings of the family, and factors influencing
parental behavior itself.
2
Concerning sociodemographical factors, some studies demonstrate that higher
educated parents use restrictive and active mediation more than less educated ones
(e.g. Valkenburg et al., 1999). Warren et al. (2002) proved coviewing and parental education
to be negatively correlated. In general, such results are explained in that those higher
educated parents worry more about possible negative outcomes of television on their child
and therefore use more restrictions and explanations. However, other investigations show
no (Austin, Knaus, & Meneguelli, 1997) or even negative correlations (Lin & Atkin, 1989)
between parental education and television mediation. Decisive for television mediation are
also a child’s age and sex. Restrictive and active mediation are more common with younger
children (e.g. Atkin, Greenberg, & Baldwin, 1991; Valkenburg et al., 1999). However,
concerning restrictive mediation, those relations disappear if parents’ attitudes toward
television are also taken into account (Valkenburg et al., 1999; Warren et al., 2002).
Coviewing increases with children’s age (Austin et al., 1999). Recent results from Germany,
however, indicate a nonlinear relationship between coviewing and age (Schorb & Theunert,
2001). This might be explained by the fact that normally parents do not watch child-
directed programs together with the child (Dorr et al., 1989). Results are contradictory
regarding children’s sex. Some studies demonstrate girls to be more restricted in
their television usage than boys (Gross & Walsh, 1980; Sneegas & Plank, 1998).
Others prove the contrary (Abelman, 1987) or do not find any relation (Valkenburg et al.,
1999). The more restricted television usage of girls is attributed to parents perceiving
girls as more vulnerable and therefore more in need of protection. Overall, results
concerning the influence of sociodemographic factors are inconsistent. Because of
small effect sizes, the general value of those factors is mistrusted (Austin et al., 1997;
Warren et al., 2002).
Structural and social surroundings of the family also influence parental mediation.
Kuchenbuch and Simon (2006), for example, prove the importance of parents’ role model
for children’s activities in general. They demonstrate that children perform especially those
activities which their parents prefer. This also holds true for media and television usage.
288
SASKIA BO
¨
CKING AND TABEA BO
¨
CKING
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Citations
More filters
Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors describe the theory of parental mediation, which has evolved to consider how parents utilize interpersonal communication to mitigate the negative effects that they believe communication media have on their children, and suggest L. Vygotsky's social development theory as a means of rethinking the role of children's agency in the interactions between parents and children.
Abstract: This article describes the theory of parental mediation, which has evolved to consider how parents utilize interpersonal communication to mitigate the negative effects that they believe communication media have on their children. I discuss the strengths and weaknesses of this theory as employed in the sociopsychologically rooted media effects literature as well as sociocultural ethnographic research on family media uses. To account for the emotional work that digital media have introduced into contemporary family life, I review interpersonal communication scholarship based on sociologist A. R. Hochschild's (1977, 1989) work on emotions, and suggest L. Vygotsky's (1978) social development theory as a means of rethinking the role of children's agency in the interactions between parents and children that new media affords. The article concludes by suggesting that in addition to the strategies of active, restrictive, and co-viewing as parental mediation strategies, future research needs to consider the emergent strategy of participatory learning that involves parents and children interacting together with and through digital media.

418 citations


Cites background from "Parental Mediation of Television: T..."

  • ...And the perceived need for parental mediation decreases as children age, meaning that parents of older children are likely to report less engagement in parental mediation strategies than parents of younger children (Bocking & Bocking, 2009)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Canonical discriminant analysis captured how the five mediation strategies varied among infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers, and early childhood children, predominantly as a result of children’s media skills, and media activities, i.e., playing educational games and passive entertainment use.
Abstract: Children use electronic screens at ever younger ages, but there is still little empirical research on how and why parents mediate this media use. In line with Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development, we explored whether children’s media skills and media activities, next to parents’ attitudes about media for children, and several child and parent-family characteristics, predicted parental mediation practices. Furthermore, we investigated children’s use and ownership of electronic screens in the bedroom in relationship to the child’s media skills. Data from an online survey among 896 Dutch parents with young children (0–7 years) showed that children’s use and ownership of TV, game consoles, computers and touchscreens, primarily depended on their media skills and age, not on parent’s attitudes about media for children. Only touchscreens were used more often by children, when parents perceived media as helpful in providing moments of rest for the child. In line with former studies, parents consistently applied co-use, supervision, active mediation, restrictive mediation, and monitoring, depending on positive and negative attitudes about media. The child’s media skills and media activities, however, had stronger relationships with parental mediation styles, whereas age was not related. Canonical discriminant analysis, finally, captured how the five mediation strategies varied among infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers, and early childhood children, predominantly as a result of children’s media skills, and media activities, i.e., playing educational games and passive entertainment use.

267 citations


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  • ...Several studies have shown that these routines can be divided into distinct types of parental mediation (e.g., Böcking and Böcking 2009; Nikken and Jansz 2006, 2013; Sonck et al. 2013; Valkenburg et al. 1999)....

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  • ...In addition, the parent’s own media use and skills, and family context variables, such as family size, marital status, and the number of media screens at home are important too (e.g., Böcking and Böcking 2009; Valkenburg et al. 1999; Van der Voort et al. 1992)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Latent growth curve analysis revealed that restrictive and active monitoring decreased over time, while deference increased, which was predictive of initial levels of all three types of monitoring, and of change in restrictive monitoring.

107 citations

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Abstract: Sexually objectifying messages about girls and women are common in U.S. popular culture. As a consequence of exposure to such messages, girls may develop “internalized sexualization,” or internaliz...

60 citations


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  • ...Exposure to media with sexual content increases across adolescence, due in part to decreased parental monitoring and restriction of exposure to such material (Böcking & Böcking, 2009)....

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"Parental Mediation of Television: T..." refers result in this paper

  • ...Unreliable scales lead to weakened effect sizes and, thus, to less convincing results (Cronbach, 1990)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article found that parental concerns about the negative effects of television were significant predictors of the style of television mediation, including restrictive mediation, instructive mediation, and social coviewing.
Abstract: Telephone interviews from a random sample of Dutch parents (N = 123 for the pilot study, N = 519 for the main study), provided an opportunity to explore television mediation activities in which parents could engage. From principal components analysis, three reliable styles of television mediation emerged: restrictive mediation, instructive mediation, and social coviewing. In addition to a number of demographic variables, parental concerns about the negative effects of television were significant predictors of style of television mediation.

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TL;DR: In this article, a survey of 394 parents and children in 2nd through 6th grades was conducted to explore the relations between parental mediation of violent television and children's generalized and TV-induced aggressive tendencies.
Abstract: A survey of 394 parents and children in 2nd through 6th grades was conducted to explore the relations between parental mediation of violent television and children's generalized and TV-induced aggressive tendencies. In addition, explanations for why mediation is related to aggression were sought by exploring a number of intervening variables. It was found that parental active mediation and restrictive mediation were both negatively related to children's generalized and TV-induced aggressive inclinations, whereas parental coviewing was positively related to children's TV-induced aggressive tendencies. The data also revealed that parental mediation works by first influencing either how important children perceive violent TV to be or how much attention they grant this content, which, in turn, influences aggressive tendencies. Hence, parental mediation seems to socialize children into an orientation toward TV that makes them less vulnerable to negative effects.

412 citations


"Parental Mediation of Television: T..." refers background in this paper

  • ...…have been demonstrated to be important for parental mediation of television (Austin et al., 1999; Valkenburg et al., 1999) and for the amount of children’s television viewing respectively (Forschungsdienst SRG SSR, 2004), which in turn might influence parental mediation behavior (Nathanson, 1999)....

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  • ...In particular, children who do not receive corrective actions by their parents show undesired effects of televised content (e.g. Nathanson, 1999)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A survey of 394 parents and second-through sixth-grade children was conducted to understand why parents mediate violent television and how children interpret mediation messages as mentioned in this paper. But the study found that parents with negative attitudes toward violent television used active and restrictive mediation and parents with positive attitudes used coviewing.
Abstract: A survey of 394 parents and second- through sixth-grade children was conducted to understand why parents mediate violent television and how children interpret mediation messages. The study found that parents with negative attitudes toward violent television used active and restrictive mediation and parents with positive attitudes used coviewing. According to children, restrictive mediation signaled parental disapproval of the content but active mediation and coviewing served as endorsements.

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Frequently Asked Questions (1)
Q1. What are the contributions in "Parental mediation of television: test of a german-speaking scale and findings on the impact of parental attitudes, sociodemographic and family factors in german-speaking switzerland" ?

In the present study a German-speaking scale for measuring parental mediation of television is tested and various factors influencing television mediation are investigated. To cite this article: Saskia Böcking & Tabea Böcking ( 2009 ) Parent al Mediat ion of Television, Journal of Children and Media, 3:3, 286-302, DOI: 10. To link to this article: ht t p: / / dx. doi. org/ 10. Any opinions and views expressed in this publicat ion are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. This art icle may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. In the present study a German-speaking scale for measuring parental mediation of television is tested and various factors influencing television mediation are investigated.