Social Media Parenting


SocialMedia Parenting


Background:Williams and Merten (2011) explain that increased internet access,mobile phone access and social media use has increased the influencethat this new trend on the behavior of adolescents and familydynamics.

Gap:Williams and Merten (2011) note that there lacks adequate researchthat specifically examines how the internet influences familyrelation patterns exploring how it impacts parent-teenageinteractions, parents awareness and involvement of the teens’activities online and how parents monitor and seek to keep theirchildren safe in cyberspace.

Impetus:The authors indicate that the impetus for the study is to understandhow the internet and internet-accessing devices or technology ingeneral affect family dynamics points to how parent’s social mediause behavior impacts on children.

Theory:Williams and Merten (2011) have based their study on theBronfenbrenner’s (1977) Microsystems theory which is part of thelarger ecological systems theory. The theory seeks to recognizeinternet technology as a system which has the capacity to influenceconnections and relations of its members. The concept of amicrosystem is a posits that one can understand the behavior of achild by simply examining various factors constituting the child`senvironment, in this case the parents use of internet technology.Therefore, to understand teenager’s use of internet technology,more so, while driving and concealing phone use while driving, oneneeds first to examine the use of the technology in the homeenvironment largely controlled by parents.

ResearchQuestion: what is the influence of the internet technology onfamily dynamics?


Ho1: Teens whoseinternet technology use is monitored are less likely to engage innegative use of the facility.

H1: Teens whoseinternet technology use is monitored will more likely engage innegative use of the facility.H1: Teens who use internettechnology believe in a significantly more positive behavioraloutcome than not usingHo2: Teens who use internettechnology do not believe in significantly more positive behavioraloutcome than not using. Type of Research:cross-sectional research study based on two data sets

Validity:Content validity was established by borrowing cross two crosssectional data sets from recognized institutions: Pew Internet andAmerican Life Project

Setting:Two sets of secondary data obtained from Pew Internet and AmericanLife Project’s studies in 2008 (n=386) and 2006 (n-696).

Population/sample: study 1: Randomly selected American households (2,252) wereinterviewed via telephone. From this sample, only 386 (n=386)qualified to be used in the study by employed parents with childrenwith knowledge and access of internet technology (mean age of 41.21years SD = 13.35 non-HipanicWhite -77.9%, non-Hispanic Black- 8.6%,and Hispanic -8%).

Study 2:Households that had participated in past studies in 2004, 2005 and2006 were contacted. Those who had 12-17 year olds were selected togive a sample of 935 teenagers (n=935, mean age=14.2, White-83.3%Black 5.9% Hispanic 4.9%) (Williams &amp Merten, 2011)..

Ethicalconsiderations or violations: The researchers sought thepermission of Pew Internet Project to use the data sets. It ishowever unclear how the original survey sough the authority of theparent in order to interview the teenagers which were involved in thesecond study. It is necessary that invidious give informed consentand where children below the legal adult age are accompanied by theirparents or guardians.

Measurement:study1. Telephone interviews to the chosen households.Participants self-reported on internet-usage, methods of connection,parents’ frequency of internet use, devices at home etc.

Study 2: Telephone interviews to the chosen households. Participantsself-reported on their how the use the internet, rules created togovern internet use at home, how parents monitor internet use,internet location and activities of teenagers online.


Study 1:-Descriptive data was analyzed using SPSS.

Logisticregression analyses of unweighted variables were calculated with oddsratios (OR), and 95% confidence intervals

  • Family closeness, connection, and communication quality increased with internet use (26.8%, 75.3%, and 54.9%), respectively.

  • More communication devices at home increased communication OR = 1.13, 95% CI [1.01, 1.28], p &lt .05).

  • Increased family when connection when co-using internet (OR = 2.15, 95%

  • CI [1.57, 2.95], p &lt .001) (Williams &amp Merten, 2011).

Study 2:Zero-order correlations among study variables

Higher internetuse increased the likelihood of teenagers making contact withstrangers (OR = 1.18, 95% CI [1.13, 1.24], p &lt .001) and beingcyberbullied online (OR = 1.14, 95% CI [1.08, 1.20], p &lt .001).Parental monitoring of adolescent internet use in the home reducedthe likelihood of teens being exposed to strangers online (OR = 0.87,95% CI [0.80, 0.98], p &lt .05). Teens from households with whereparents have higher education were 20% less likely to face cyberbullying (95% CI [0.69, 0.92], p &lt .01) while teens were morelikely to be embarrassed or have their private messages publishedwhen parents accessed internet technology at work OR = 1.19, 95% CI[1.09, 1.30], p &lt .001) (Williams &amp Merten, 2011).


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