Research has argued that adolescents are at risk for harmful effects of sexual media, but little is known about the role of parents and friends on adolescents' media use in regard of these effects. The present two-wave study investigated whether prior parental and friends' influences on adolescents' use of sexual media shape their sexual attitudes and behaviors, and vice versa if prior sexual attitudes and behaviors predict parental and friends' media mediation. At two measurement points 18 months apart, 528 adolescents (12-17 years; 51.3 % girls) reported on permissive sexual attitudes, sexual experience, perceived parental and friends' mediation of sexual media use, and communication with parents and friends about sex. Structural Equation Modeling shows that parents' mediation activities on adolescents' media use were not followed by less sexual experience and less permissive attitudes. On the contrary, parental restrictive mediation of girls' media use unexpectedly was followed by somewhat more sexual experience. Friends' interventions with media use did not predict adolescents' sexual experience and attitudes neither. Inverse relationships showed that prior sexual experience was followed by less restrictive parental mediation among boys, and both among boys and girls that permissive sexual attitudes were followed by less restrictive and less active parental mediation. At the same time, sexually more experienced and more permissive boys and girls did report more media pressure from and sexual communication with their friends later on. Our study thus indicates that the opposite agent roles of parents and friends for adolescents also applies to their usage of sexual media.

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ERMeCC - Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture
Journal of Youth and Adolescence
Department of Media and Communication

Nikken, P., & de Graaf, H. (2013). Reciprocal Relationships Between Friends' and Parental Mediation of Adolescents' Media Use and Their Sexual Attitudes and Behavior. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42(11), 1696–1707. doi:10.1007/s10964-012-9873-5