Parenting Styles Influence Kids Internet Use

Researchers say that there are several factors that can shield young people from the harmful effects of online porn.

Psychologist and technology researcher Larry Rosen, PhD, of California State University, Dominguez Hills, is looking at one of them. In his yet-to-be-published study, Rosen discovered that teens’ and pre-teens’ actions on the online social network MySpace (including looking at others’ risqué poses, displaying their own and tapping into porn links) are strongly influenced by parenting styles.

Rosen and his team asked parents and young people to rate the way parents monitored young people’s Internet use and to categorize them as such:

  • authoritative – asd combining warmth and control
  • authoritarian – melding control and low warmth
  • indulgent – displaying warmth and low control
  • neglectful – low warmth and low control

The researchers found that compared to indulgent or neglectful parents, authoritative and authoritarian parents were much more likely to limit their kids’ use of MySpace account. They also require their kids to keep their computers in family rooms.

As a result, it seems that teens (of authoritarian or authoritative parents) internalize their parents’ messages by not looking at suggestive poses of other MySpace users, for instance, as much as kids with indulgent or neglectful parents do.

"Basically you’re looking at clear, obvious differences in parenting styles, even in what kids see on MySpace," says Rosen (see "Creating a space for MySpace). "These kids have rules, and they’re following those rules."

Source: APA