Effects of Home Environment on Internet Use and Dependence of Children and Adolescents

Sora Park

Abstract


In this study, the concept of internet dependence of adolescents is explored. Due to the prevalence of digital media, many young people experience the borderline of becoming addicted to the internet, often causing problems in their personal and social lives. For the purposes of this study, internet dependence is defined broadly to include the over-use and abuse of the internet that may have a negative impact on children and adolescents. A survey was conducted on 1002 parent-child pairs in Seoul Metropolitan area in South Korea. Children between the ages of 10 and 15 and their mothers were included in the sample. The parent was asked about the home media environment and how parents monitor and guide their childrens media use at home. The results reveal that the age of child, media-richness and restrictive mediation of parents were not significant factors that influence internet use and internet dependence. Internet dependence of the child could be explained by the time child spends online, how competent the child is in using the internet, active mediation of parents and interaction type with parents. Children who engage in outdoor activities with their parents were less likely to have high levels of internet dependence. The transition from mass media to digital media often means the personalization and mobilization of media. While mass media is usually consumed a context of the home, digital media expands into personal mobile spaces. Nonetheless the media environment at home, including the media-richness and parents mediation, significantly affects the way children use digital media. This is because most media habits are formed within the context of home. Further analysis of how the personalized use of media and how that is related to the habits and norms that are developed at home is called for in future studies.

Keywords


internet use; internet dependence; parental mediation; children; adolescents home media

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