Parents & Internet-Using Teens

I’m on my way out the door, but this just popped into my aggregator.  It may have been there for a while, just hiding.  But the latest findings from the PEW Internet & American Life Project are interesting.

Pew Internet: Parent and Teen Internet Use:

Parents today are less likely to say that the internet has been a good thing for their children than they were in 2004. However, this does not mean there was a corresponding increase in the amount of parents who think the internet has been harmful to their children. Instead, the biggest increase has been in the amount of parents who do not think the internet has had an effect on their children one way or the other. Fully, 87% of parents of teenagers are online — at least 17% more than average adults.

The study indicates that parents are paying a lot of attention to their children’s media consumption.

Parents check up on and regulate their teens’ media use, not just in terms of the internet, but with television and video games as well. However, those rules lean slightly more towards the content of the media rather than the time spent with the media device.

Alexandra Rankin Macgill, the author of the report, suggests that “The fact that the biggest increase has been in the number of parents who think the internet has no effect on their children suggests that parents are beginning to have a more nuanced view of the internet.”  She continues,  “It is a grey technology that can be helpful or harmful depending on how you use it.”  This is from the PEW Press Release for the study.

I wonder, though, — and this is just me wondering — if maybe the opposite might be true.  That in 2004, we felt that we understood the Internet as a rich source of content.  Some was good and some was bad, but it was a place to go to find answers.  Today, however, our children seem to be spending more time interacting in their social networks, and, in my opinion, discovering and even inventing new ways to learn through those interactions.  But we don’t understand this. 

What do you think?

I look forward to reading the rest of the report…

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.