Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Exploring the Influence of Parental Involvement and Socioeconomic Status on Teen Digital Citizenship: A Path Modeling Approach

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Exploring the Influence of Parental Involvement and Socioeconomic Status on Teen Digital Citizenship: A Path Modeling Approach

Article excerpt

Introduction

With the emerging picture of youth and technology usage including cellphones, instant messaging, social networking sites, and online virtual communities, youth are more than ever in need of support to develop socially responsible citizenship in the internet age (Choi, 2016; Clark, 2009; Ito et al., 2009a; Khurana, Bleakley, Jordan, & Romer, 2015). Digital citizenship was defined by Ribble and Bailey (2007) as "the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use" (p. 10). Instead of focusing on what technology can do, the aim is to think about how technology should be used (Ribble, 2009, p. 13). According to Ribble (2004), digital citizenship represents a more comprehensive view of appropriate technology usage. In addition, it would include considerations for youth safety and security, educational enhancement, ethical and legal behaviors, and becoming an effective member of digital communities (Hollandsworth, Dowdy, & Donovan, 2011). Teaching teen digital citizenship requires effort from schools, educators, technology professionals and parents (Hollandsworth et al., 2011). Parents are the child's first and most influential teachers of civic values and attitude. "Parents need to be involved in the process of raising their children to be good digital citizens" (Ribble, 2009, p. 11). Three core elements of teen digital citizenship discussed in this study are: digital access, digital etiquette and digital safety.

One aspect of teenagers using digital technologies is using social media or social networking sites. Ahn (2011) analyzed survey results of social media usage related questions from parents and their teenage children and found that teenagers' use of online social networking sites is positively influenced by parental internet use. The findings also reported that teenagers who access the internet primarily from home (versus other locations, such as, school, library, public services facility, etc.) are more likely to use social network sites (Ahn, 2011). Ahn's (2011) study reported initial findings of parental influence on teenagers' use of social media sites. On one hand, teenagers gain benefits such as social development and technical skills (Clark, 2009) from using digital and mobile technologies; On the other hand, the online risks that teenagers may encounter make parents concern about their children's safety. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project survey 2012, 72% of parents of online teens are concerned about how their child interacts online with people they do not know, with some 53% of parents being "very" concerned (Madden, Cortesi, Gasser, Lenhart, & Duggan, 2012). Parental involvement and monitoring has been found to mitigate online risks for teens. Khurana et al. (2014) reported that parental monitoring and efforts to regulate specific forms of internet use were associated with reduced rates of online harassment for adolescents. However, Rosen et al. (2008) found that parents with older children were more likely to have neglectful or indulgent parenting styles and less likely to set limits on online behavior. Furthermore, parents' high estimates of online dangers were not matched by their low rates of setting limits and monitoring teens.

One of the explanations for these phenomena may be that parents have difficulties guiding teenagers' technology use. With rapid development of new digital technologies, studies have revealed the digital gap between teenagers and their parents: parents may use digital technologies differently, or are even less experienced or knowledgeable about digital technologies than their teenage children (Clark, 2009; Norris, 2001; Yardi & Bruckman, 2011). As a result, parents lack confidence in guiding teens on using technologies that they are less familiar with. This is especially the case for teenagers in economically disadvantaged families (Clark, 2009; Duerager & Livingstone, 2012). …

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