Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Parents' Perceptions of Smartphone Use and Parenting Practices

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Parents' Perceptions of Smartphone Use and Parenting Practices

Article excerpt

Technology use has long been on an accelerated curve when considering adoption and use rates. Following the advent of electricity in 1873, it took 46 years for one-quarter of the American public to adopt its use. Since then, adoption rates of other technological advances, have increased at an exponentially greater rate, with the telephone reaching one-quarter of the American public in 35 years, television in 26 years, mobile phones in 13 years, and the web in only seven years (Desilver, 2014). This accelerated rate of technology adoption is evident today as the number of users and uses of the web increases, as well as the proliferation of technologies like cell phones and smartphones (Pew Research Center, 2014a). The World Wide Web currently has reached near-saturation levels of adoption among many demographic groups (Perrin & Duggan, 2015; Pew Research Center, 2014a) With the majority of internet users expressing positive attitudes regarding their use of the technology, it is likely adoption rates will continue to increase (Pew Research Center, 2014b).

Trends in research on media and the Internet frequently explore how people use technology, why technology is used, and the impact technology use is having on individuals and social systems (Anderson & Smith, 2015; Hertlein, 2012; Lebo, 2015; Perrin & Duggan, 2015; Pew Research Center, 2015). Smartphones are used for nearly anything--work, home, school, social networking, etc. (Anderson & Smith, 2015; Lebo, 2015; Perrin & Duggan, 2015; Pew Research Center, 2015). Papacharissi and Rubin (2000) found five motives of internet use: "interpersonal utility, pass time, information seeking, convenience, and entertainment" (p. 185). These uses encompass both social and personal needs in ways that reflect the personality, cultural, and attitudinal characteristics of the individual users (Kang & Jung, 2014; Nassiri, Hashembeik, & Siadat, 2012). Kang and Jung (2014) concluded, "The smartphone is an individualistic medium even though it is used for social interactions and collectivistic purposes" (p. 384).

Technology, Smartphones, and Parenting

Technology has radically changed the practice of parenting (McDaniel & Coyne, 2016). For example, parent monitoring of children while using the media is relatively common (Martins, Matthews, & Ratan, 2017). One of the main areas of research thus far has explored how parents are using technology for surveilling and monitoring their children. Parents who exhibited styles characterized by a need for greater control such as Authoritarian were more likely to employ such systems, whereas children of Authoritative parents were most likely to cooperate with the use of such monitoring systems.

When looking at how parents utilize and regulate technology use within the home, many studies have found that parental attributes such as parenting style influence children's use of technology (Nakayama 2011). Another study found the largest group of internet-using children, with multiple access points, had parents that fell into the authoritative group as opposed to permissive, laissez-faire, and/or authoritarian (Valcke et al., 2010). This study corroborates other research suggesting parents' use of internet technology was a significant factor in how children such technologies (Hefner, Knop, Schmitt, & Vorderer, 2018; Leung & Lee, 2011).

Parents also use technology to mitigate potential problematic interactions facilitated by technology use such as internet addiction, risky online behavior, cyberbullying, complications with psychopathologies such as anxiety or depression, and physical ailments such as childhood obesity (Leung & Lee, 2011; Mian, 2014; Morgan, 2013; Veldhuis et al., 2014). Much of this literature focuses on a parent's role of moderator and protector of the child's online behavior through regulation of the time a child spends on electronic devices; some of the factors influencing parents' interpretation of these roles are parental characteristics such as parenting styles (Gold, 2015; Hendricks, 2015; Leung & Lee, 2011; Veldhuis et al. …

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