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Family Communication and Parental Consistency in Prevention of Internet Risks


An interesting piece of evidence from research shows that strong parent-child communication has a protective role in preventing inappropriate use of the internet in children. Conversely, excessive internet use is associated with broken communication in the family. Open and effective parent-child communication, especially in young people, is an important aspect of family relationships and climate. Assuming that adolescent-child effects are a dual perspective, some authors focus on the role of teenagers’ self-disclosure and spontaneous communication on parenting.
Stattin and Kerr argue that parental efforts to monitor or discuss adolescents’ activities are ineffective if the adolescents do not trust their parents and are not willing to come out on their own. Parents’ monitoring of children’s activities can be less effective when it is parent-focused (for example, when the parent is trying to track the child’s activities on Facebook), it is child-focused, that is, enabled by children’s self-disclosure and open communication. Conversely, when parents try to control teens’ online communication (e.g. friends on Facebook, photos posted on Instagram, etc.), parent-child conflicts increase and adolescents may perceive parental behavior as an obstacle to their autonomy or intrusion.) Family Communication and Parental Consistency in Prevention of Internet Risks
Van den Eijnden et al. It identified two basic dimensions of parent-child communication regarding children’s digital behavior. The first parenting practice relates to the frequency of communication related to Internet use (for example, “How often do you and your parents talk to whom you have an Internet connection?”), Whereas the quality of communication measures adolescent’s perception of mutual respect and acceptance when speaking about Internet use (“My parents and I I feel taken seriously when we talk about my use ”).Family Communication and Parental Consistency in Prevention of Internet Risks
Researchers discover how these parental behaviors, along with other Internet-specific parental practices (online time-related rules, content-related rules, overuse responses), link adolescent compulsive Internet use (CIU). The findings of the longitudinal study are that especially the quality of communication has a protective effect.
In other words, while good quality parent-child communication related to internet use reduces the risk of CIU (after 6 months), this relationship was not observed in the frequency of parent-child exchanges about adolescent’s online activities. Researchers discuss these findings by emphasizing the dual nature of parent-child effects. When adolescents display compulsive Internet behaviors, the frequency of parent-child communication decreases. Probably gradually, parents become discouraged and abandon the idea of ​​making a positive change in their child’s problematic behavior through frequent conversations.
Regarding parental guidelines regarding online activities, research shows some mixed results. Compulsive use of the web decreases when parents give their children rules about the content of the internet. Conversely, strict rules regarding the time allowed for online activities seem to be counterproductive in connection with compulsive Internet behavior in children.Furthermore, given the child’s impact on the parent’s behavior, when the child remains connected online without time limits, the more strict rules of behavior by the parents. It is possible to encourage.
Other studies prove that parental rules regarding Internet use have less impact on their children’s behavior than their parents’ behavior. Liu et al. found that parental behaviors are consistent, with parental rules regarding digital technologies and the Internet (e.g. smartphone should not be used during meals, personal data cannot be provided online, etc.), the rules estimate that adolescents negatively affect problematic use of the Internet.
This result reminds us of the importance of educational consistency (ie, rule-behavior agreement) from parents. Conversely, when parental rules and parental behavior disagree, only parents’ behavior provides a positive prediction of children’s excessive Internet use. According to social learning theory, the parent.Family Communication and Parental Consistency in Prevention of Internet RisksIt interferes with the modeling process, that is, it is an observational learning where the parent’s behavior acts as a premise for similar behavior in the child. Therefore, parents act as a role model for their children’s digital behavior, and young children learn how and under what conditions to use a mobile phone, such as a smartphone, by observing the parents’ activities with this device.
Interestingly, research shows that the time parents spend with computers is positively correlated with the time spent by their children. Similarly, parental involvement in favorite Internet activities (visiting social networking sites, streaming videos, etc.) is positively correlated with activities that children do. In addition, as some researchers remind us, “it is not only explicit parental behavior (ie digital device use), but also attitudes and emotions that can be modeled for children to imitate.”
Taken together, these findings suggest that parents’ validation and modeling of appropriate behavior are crucial factors in promoting self-control and safety use of digital technologies in young children.

References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4991114/
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317642203_Profiles_of_Internet_use_and_parental_involvement_and_rates_of_online_risks_and_problematic_Internet_use_among_Spanish_adolescents
https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/95667.pdf

Author: Ozlem Guvenc Agaoglu


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