Parent and adolescent Internet use, perception, and regulation: A dyadic analysis
Timothy Eagen, Hofstra University, United States
Hofstra University . Awarded
Recent advances in technology have created new opportunities for adolescents as well as additional regulatory challenges for parents. The purpose of the current study was to examine the degree of agreement that existed between 121 adolescent-parents pairs, or dyads, in terms of Internet use, perception of use, and regulation. Data was obtained using two parallel web-based surveys.
Parents and adolescents agreed when it came to the location that the adolescent accesses the Internet, how often the adolescent uses the Internet for general purposes (talk with friends, meet new people, look things up for school, research a product, listen to music, or play games), how often the adolescent uses various technology tools (MySpace, e-mail, IM, Google, and LiveJournal), MySpace account use, the frequency of adolescent use in a normal week, adolescent skill level, adolescent risk behaviors (MySpace profile settings, having unmet “friends,” and personal identity management), adolescent cyber-bullying experience (both as participant and target), and methods of regulation (filters, monitoring software, safety discussions, and establishing rules). This unexpected agreement in use and regulation contradicted both the hypothesis that differences would be found, and challenged the current research in this area. The high reported levels of adolescent autonomy and autonomy support helped to explain this agreement. Parents and adolescents also agreed in their reported degree of adolescent rule following. This additional area of agreement, along with the relationship that was established between rule following and all three indicators of autonomy support, reinforced this explanation.
Parents and adolescents generally disagreed when it came to perceptions of the Internet in areas such as safety on the Internet, freedom and choice, and the personal/private nature of the Internet. This was consistent with the hypothesis that differences would be found in these areas.
While supervising the Internet is largely out of the school's jurisdiction, school districts should continue to provide parents with the help and support that they need to act as the first educators in the home. Future study is recommended with a larger and more diverse sample population. Additionally, further studies that incorporate mixed methods designs with observable measures are also recommended.
Eagen, T. Parent and adolescent Internet use, perception, and regulation: A dyadic analysis. Ph.D. thesis, Hofstra University.
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