Bioecological systems theory provides a framework to understand how factors in the child's environment contribute to parent-child differences in estimations of how often children are helped by their Internet use. A national sample survey of 456 matched parent-child pairs investigated how parents-child relational factors, parental attitudes toward the Internet, and the bio-ecology of the child, are related to differing perceptions of the frequency of using the Internet to seek help with homework assignments, to aid in identity development, and to find health information. While previous research shows that parents underestimate risky online behaviors, we investigate whether parent-child differences will emerge in regards to how often the child engages in the behaviors under investigation here. The findings show that parents overestimate these online activities, suggesting they are biased in their estimations. Parent-child relational factors emerged as predictors of parental overestimation for each of these online activities, with trust perceptions as the most consistent predictor. Parental attitudes toward the Internet predicted parent-child differences in perceptions of how frequently the child used the Internet for help with homework and identity development, while the bioecology of the child was only predictive in the case of using the Internet for help with homework.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported in part by the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station federal formula funds, Project No. NYC-1317428 received from the National Institutes for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) U.S. Department of Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
©, 2015, Taylor & Francis.