CORDIS - EU research results

A comprehensive approach to value transmission in the digital age

Project description

The changing landscape of values transmission

Traditionally, parents have been the primary actors instilling common values in children. However, today's youngsters are increasingly influenced by social media influencers (SMIs), those captivating figures who amass followers by sharing curated content. Funded by the European Research Council, the ValueIn project studies the crucial elements of this process: the source (mothers and SMIs), the channel (conversations and online content exchange), the message (a set of prosocial values) and the receivers (active child and adolescent partners). ValueIn will decipher how interaction partners convey these values, evaluate the effectiveness of these practices in promoting value alignment, moral reasoning and prosocial behaviour, and explore the intriguing interplay between mothers and SMIs.


The EU aims to promote common values and beliefs among members. Classic research establishes parents as the main role models for such transmission. However, children today learn values from new role models, such as social media influencers (SMIs), users who share content to acquire followers.
The project will construct a comprehensive value transmission theory applicable across contexts and adapted to the digital age. It will define essential value transmission aspects: source, channel, message, receivers. The source studied will be mothers and SMIs. The channel will be conversations and online exchange of content and engagement. The message will be a set of values motivating prosocial behavior, including but not limited to moral values, and the balance among them. Explicit and implicit messages will require varying processing systems. Child and adolescent receivers will be active partners, choosing, negotiating, and transmitting values.
I will investigate value transmission practices used by interaction partners to convey messages; I will test the effectiveness of practices in promoting value similarity, moral reasoning and prosocial behavior; Finally, I will examine interactions between mothers’ and SMIs’ value transmission processes.
In 7 studies, I will (1) longitudinally study mother-child conversations on prosocial behavior in daily life and in social media. Conversations will be analyzed thematically, longitudinally across 2 years, and moment-to-moment; (2) analyze values in SMI content and investigate their relations with follower engagement, applying manual and artificial intelligence coding; (3) Last, I will experimentally test the effectiveness of value transmission practices, including cases of source disagreement.
The project sets the stage for research into value transmission across contexts and cultures, broadens understanding of the role of family and social media in development, and creates a new standard for research methods in child development.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 1 499 750,00
Total cost
€ 1 499 750,00

Beneficiaries (1)