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  3. PhD position 'The digital grip of parents: an innovative study on the role of family context in youth digital media use' (1.0 FTE)

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PhD position 'The digital grip of parents: an innovative study on the role of family context in youth digital media use' (1.0 FTE)

Utrecht University's Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is looking for a PhD candidate on the project 'The digital grip of parents: an innovative study on the role of family context in youth digital media use'. Interested? Read more and apply here.

4 maanden geleden


Domplein, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 40 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


We seek to appoint a PhD candidate who will investigate digital media use among youth aged 8-18 in the context of the family. While several studies have investigated how parents should guide their children to safely use the Internet (see for example the review study of Colliers et al., 2016), information on effective parenting is limited due to the fact that nearly all studies are cross-sectional, are single-informant, related to only one aspect of online behaviour (e.g. social media use) and based on self-report only. Digital media use among youth seems to be a conceptually different kind of behaviour than many other youth risk behaviors, e.g. alcohol use (Koning et al., 2018), since youth may engage in screen behaviour 24/7 and therefore largely takes place in the family context. Moreover, different from other risk behaviors, the (excessive) use of screens by children can have advantages for parents, such as having more private time to relax or finish work, and parents may therefore knowingly or unconsciously encourage children’s digital media use (Geurts, de Bok, Koning, in prep; Hawi & Rupert, 2015). Currently, evidence-based knowledge about the role of parents in youth’ digital media use is lacking while there is a great need for this considering the increase in the number of agencies organizing parents’ meetings and materials on digital media use. Therefore, a better understanding of what is going on in the family setting is imperative to equip parents with the necessary tools to guide their children towards a healthy (non-excessive) use of digital media.

The aim of this project is to gain in-depth insight into the role of family context in the (prevention of) excessive digital media use among youth aged 8-18. The research questions that will be addressed are:

  • Which parenting behaviors do effectively contribute to the prevention of excessive digital media among youth?
  • How do dynamic family processes (e.g. face-to-face interaction) effectively contribute to the prevention of excessive digital media use among youth?
  • How is the effect of parenting and dynamic family processes on youth’ excessive digital media use different for subgroups of youth and families (moderation)?
  • What are important mechanisms (e.g. self-control, social comparison processes) underlying the effect of parenting and dynamic family processes on excessive digital media use among youth (mediation)?

We will use a family-based (all family members) and multi-method approach, based on qualitative and quantitative research methodologies including online surveys, interviews and screen-time tracking software.

This project will be embedded in the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Science and the candidate will be supervised by Prof. Dr. Catrin Finkenauer, Dr. Regina van den Eijnden and Dr. Ina Koning. Read more about the project here (.pdf).

Job tasks/responsibilities

  • Conducting the research (literature research, collecting and analyzing data, reporting the results), resulting in international scientific publications and a dissertation.
  • To present results at national and international scientific conferences.
  • Teaching (max. 10% per year).
  • Active participation in the research group of the project and of the Department.
  • Ambition to collaborate with (inter)national partners and to pay visits to these partners.


We are looking for someone who:

  • holds (or nearly holds) a (research) Master’s degree in Youth Studies or a related field such as Developmental Psychology, Pedagogics, or Communication Science;
  • preferably has affinity with digital media, parenting, qualitative and quantitative research methods, the use of tracking apps;
  • has good social skills;
  • enjoys teamwork, but can work independently;
  • is effective and efficient, and able to think conceptually;
  • is able to meet deadlines, and conduct research independently and as part of a team;
  • possesses good communication skills (written and oral) that allows discussions with stakeholders;
  • possesses good statistical skills in English and Dutch;
  • some experience in advanced statistical methods is preferable.


We offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE) for one year, starting preferably on September 1, 2019. Upon a positive performance, the appointment will be extended for three further years. The gross salary - depending on previous qualifications and experience - ranges between €2,325 and €2,972 (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) gross per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 % per year. We offer a pension scheme, (partly paid) parental leave, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information is available at our website: Working at Utrecht University.

Additional information

Additional information concerning this position can be obtained by contacting Ina Koning, via i.koning@uu.nl or +31 30 253 34 88.

The first interviews will take place in week 27 or 28.