This chapter seeks to gain an understanding of how parents accompany their very young children aged under three into ‘digital society’ by examining their mediating practices and ideologies regarding the children’s digital activities. It draws on diverse data (observations/video-recordings and interviews with parents at home) from cases of five middle-class family children in Spain and Portugal. The data was collected in 2017 following the protocol developed for A Day in the Digital Lives of 0-3 Year-Olds [Gillen et al. 2019 A day in the digital lives of children aged 0-3. Full report: DigiLitEY ISCH COST Action 1410 Working Group 1: Digital Literacy in Homes and Communities. http://www.research.lancs.ac.uk/portal/en/publications/-(19b42af9-7828-4950-afca-69fdce62702e).html.].
We problematise the complex relationship between parental beliefs, self-perceptions and actual practices regarding the place of digital technologies in children’s lives and development. We do so by examining mediation as an emergent process in which family members co-create the interactional ecologies [Kyratzis and Johnson (Linguistics and Education 41:1–6, 2017); Erickson (Discourse, learning, and schooling. Cambridge University Press, 1996)], and by seeing mediation as a set of strategies within family routines [Livingstone (Computers in Human Behavior, 23:920–941, 2007)]. Specifically, we analyse mediation at the levels of the digital media ecology/environment in the home [Plowman (Interacting with Computers 27:36–46, 2015)], the actual digital media activities and mediation practices, and the parents’ broader media ideologies and beliefs on technologies [Gershon (Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 20:283–293, 2010)], to explore the relations and contradictions between these levels.