The use of internet has increasingly been used in both the developing and the developed countries. Educational programs have been shifted to the internet with many families going into the internet for the first time. Many schools, almost all are incorporating internet-based materials into their education curriculum. For the elderly people, they are implementing internet usage at their workplaces. However, there is attention on the challenges to parents on the content of what their children take advantages of in the internet. According to this article, which has data form 749 pairs of American parents and their teenage children with relation to internet access, it states that majority of parents reportedly regulate the internet usage of their teenage children. These parents report monitoring a higher percentage than these teens report; parents report 61% while their children 38%. Other regression analyses report that mal parents, parents using internet with their children, younger parents and parents with younger teens engage in higher levels of parental monitoring. This paper looks at the parental monitoring of children’s internet use and singles out the need to study family rules from both perspectives; the child and the parent’s perspective (Rong, Wang, Suzanne, Bianchi, Sara, Raley 2005, Nov 21).
The major issue that this article addresses is the internet by children. In 2000, more than half of the population in the United States had a computer. According to a report of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in 2000 established that about 40% of this population had direct access to the internet. This report also revealed that families with children had a more likelihood of having computers and internet access than other houses in general. These families use the internet for e-mailing themselves, web shopping, instant messaging, reading world news and listening to music. Parents believe that children need computer and internet access and skills to perform well in school. Research also reveals that children who have computers in their homes perform well in mathematics and reading. However, there are several risks related to kids accessing the internet without the monitoring of their parents. These risks are both health and social related risks. The health risk related to computer addiction is obesity, while the social risks include isolation effects on the children, physical inactivity, exposure to pornography, and dangerous strangers and unsuitable overrated contents in the internet.
This article singles out that the concerns raised on the effects of the internet use on children possesses similarity with those raised about television. Children adhere to family rules on television usage since they have equal knowledge regarding this technology. Unlike television, the computer technology and internet utility presents new challenges to parents, which makes it difficult for these parents to regulate their children. Statistics from this article reveals that about 64% of the online teens say they are too skilled in the internet than their parents can contain and 66% of the parents confess this as true.
The article advises that parental supervision is important in ensuring that children take advantage of the relevant internet utilities while minimizing the possible online dangers as well as the social, physical and health hazards related to this phenomenon. Parents always want to practice good parenting, this one of the reasons they monitor they children’s internet access. Other studies within this article reveal that high level of parental monitoring such as supervising children’s activities on the internet or regulating the amount and type of television programs their children watch, together with other good parenting practices was associated with better grades in school. These practices are also related to fewer delinquent behaviors among early adolescents.
This article investigates a topic that has often been ignored in most of the family literature. The major focus of this study is the teenagers since they use the internet than the younger children. Additionally, they are undergoing a transition in their development. At this developmental stage, these teenagers sometimes have turbulent relationships with their parents and often offer resistance to parental monitoring.
This article answers two major questions: What factors contribute to setting family rules for internet use? Do parents and children perceive internet rules differently? If so, what is correlated with the discrepancy?
According to this article, the three major determinants in the setting of family internet rules are child, family and parent characteristics. While examining a recent report of the Census Bureau of 2000, 73% of the children between the ages of 12-17 years old came from families with at least one type of family rule, either governing type of program, time of day or the number of hours children watched television. This report also showed that younger children had more constrains than teenagers, although the age variations among the teenagers was not examined. Internet monitoring also declines as these children become of age since it is believed that younger children do not have the capabilities of selecting suitable internet content for themselves, and would access anything of left to decide on their own. According to this article, it is assumed that these internet rules do not vary with the sex of the child.
Additionally, families with higher socioeconomic status gauging by parental education level and family income are likely to set television rules. These parents also monitor their children then the other families since they have more familiarity and greater access to internet facilities and technology.
The other thing that the article talks about in relation to setting internet rules is the parental characteristics. These characteristics include gender and marital status of the parent. The Census Bureau report shows that married parents practice higher level of television and internet monitoring. However, other reports in this article report that there are differences in the setting of these rules by the family structures. Married parents who stay together with their children feel obliged to regulate their children in relation to internet and television compared to single parents. Since the mothers spend more time with their children compared to the fathers, the former are often associated with monitoring the children than the latter.
According to this article, younger parents often practice higher levels of monitoring compared to older ones since these younger parents posses higher computer and internet knowledge than the other elderly ones. This article also notes that parents who use the internet foster internet rules than those who do not since they know the dangers of underage children freely using the internet without restrictions, therefore, they understand better the need to impose these rules on these children. Further, this article expects parents with negative opinion of the internet and more wary of the dangers to be more likely to impose these rules.
Previous studies to this article present some basic information on family rule setting and singles out that discrepancy between child and parent reports on parental behaviors is a common phenomenon.
The data used for the purposes of researching for this article came from the Pew internet and American Life Project accomplished by Princeton Survey Research Associates and majorly focusing on online teenagers and their parents. In this survey, 754 parents and their children aged between 12-17 years who use the internet were interviewed using telephone between November 2 and December 15, 2000. The sample of this survey was derived from earlier surveys of the Pew Internet and American Life project of 2000. The original polling, which was done in the United states yielded a representative sample of population of adults in the U.S. the respondents who said they had children with internet access were contacted for more information. A parent from such households and a randomly selected child responded to the interview. Six households did not respond to the interview and the final sample had 749 pairs of parents and teens. Parents average age for this research was 43 while that for the teens was 15. Half of the teenage respondents were sons while 43% of the parents were fathers. 85% of the parents in this research were non-Hispanic White.
Variables in the research
There were both dependent and independent variables in this research
Three questions measure family monitoring in the survey. First are the internet rules. Parents were asked if there were rules about when, and for how long children can go online in their homes. The second was checking of the websites. Here the parents were asked if they ever checked to confirm which websites their children visited. Finally, on monitoring software, the parents were asked if they had monitoring software or a filter that stops the children from visiting some sites. The teenagers were also asked if their parents limited the time they spent on the internet and e-mails. His was considered a dependent variable since the teenagers were not aware that their parents were practicing such controls and monitoring.
The independent variables here included the gender of the parent and gender of the child and age of both the parent and the teenager. However, there were some discrepancies in age of the child when they were interviewed and when their parents were interviewed. Other independent variables include race, marital status of the parents, education levels of these parents, family income, parents’ attitude towards the internet, and internet use variables.
Just like any other research, there are always strengths and weaknesses of the research. The strengths of this research paper is the ability to contact a large number of respondents with limited defaulters and ensuring that every respondent gives all the information they could avail. This research was conducted within a short time considering the number of respondents. This implies that the researchers had preplanned framework to carry out the research.
The major issues that I find in this research are the many assumptions that might not be profound. For instance, the research assumes that since mothers spend more time with the teenagers than their fathers do, they might well monitor these teenagers’ internet activities. However, the reality is that the male parents spend more time on the internet at home than the mothers do and mostly frequent the websites these teenagers visit. Connected to this is the assumption that male parents posses greater computer knowledge than their female counterparts. However, some female parents are IT experts while the fathers in these households specialize in other discipline. In such a case, the mother would be more enlightened on IT. Additionally teenagers not only use internet in their home. The truth is that even outside their homes, these teenagers utilize this facility for paid or free access either with their friends or in schools. The methodology that was used for interviewing recipients was prone to several mistakes though it could have been chosen considering its cost. However, face-to-face interview could have produced better results. The other issue that remains unresolved in this article is the conflict arising between the child and the parent, the article fails to explain if the parents would like to impress their dissatisfied teenagers by retracting these rules or insist on their implementation to ensure control.
Questions arising from the study
- What is the probability that teenagers with strict parental monitoring would resort to other places to access the internet?
- How could teachers assist parents in monitoring the internet access of teenagers?
- What is the role of the government in curbing this issue? Does it have a role to play in this process?
In my opinion, the area that remains unresolved in this research is the regulation and monitoring of the teenagers’ internet usage outside their homes. The researches assumed that these teenager
The article has a major contribution to the society. This is a rarely researched issue despite its relevance to the society. The article explains the dangers of leaving teenagers and younger children unmonitored in the internet and television and the impact on their education. Students who spend concise and regulated amounts of time on the internet and television perform better in school as opposed to those that have free unlimited access to these technologies. Therefore, it is appropriate for parents to practice parental monitoring on their teenage children and even younger ones.
This article is based on the authoritarian parenting style. The parents set rigid rules for their children according to their expectations of these children. They enforce these family rules on these children and expect maximum cooperation from them. However, teenagers find it difficult to adhere to these rules as they become of age.
Alignment with class materials
In relation to alignment of this article with the things learnt in class, I find the article consistent with several things we have studied in class. First, the article is based on the dimensions of parenting, and specifically on parental control. The article explains the degree of flexibility used on enforcing rules on the child and the possible child outcomes. The article also explains the role of both parents in the monitoring of the child, especially the fathers who exercise monitoring of these teenagers. Finally, the article explains the relationship arising from the family rules. Teenagers are unwilling to cooperate as compared to younger children. The article generally encompasses issues related to parenting. For example, financial status of the family and family rules.
This article provides a representation of parental internet rule setting in the current information age in the light of growing increasing attractiveness of the internet among American families. According to the findings in this study, majority of American parents, approximately 61% with internet access report regulating their teenage children’s use of the internet. As these teens age up, they are less likely to adhere to these rules, which also coincide with the idea that parents see the ageing teenagers as mature to handle the adult content they access from the internet.
The parents’ educational background and gender are also associated with certain methods of monitoring of these children’s use of the internet. It is assumed that since mothers spend more time with these teenagers than their fathers do, they have more monitoring capabilities than the fathers have, though it was found out that the father frequent the websites their children go to than the mothers. Additionally father might be spending more time on the internet while at home than the female parents might and they are assumed to posses more knowledge of the computer and the related technology that surpasses the knowledge of their children. Therefore, these parents eventually monitor their teenage children’s internet use.
Parents with limited knowledge of the computer might put monitoring software on home computers. Since these parents have limited familiarity with these technologies, they might help very little in monitoring these teenagers as compared to parents with higher educational levels.
The various causes of parent-child disagreements, it may be because of parent and child not sharing the same experiences with, definition of, or sensitivity related to parental internet monitoring. This discrepancy could be a big barrier to enforcing family rules.
Rong Wang,Suzanne M. Bianchi, Sara B. Raley, (2005, Nov 21). Teenagers’ Internet Use and Family Rules: A Research Note. Journal of Marriage and Family Volume 67, Issue 5, pages 1249–1258, retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2005.00214.x/abstract