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Understanding digital inequality: the interplay between parental socialisation and children's development

Ingrid Paus-Hasebrink, Cristina Ponte, Andrea Dürager and Joke Bauwens

in Children, risk and safety on the internet

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9781847428837
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781447307723 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847428837.003.0020
Understanding digital inequality: the interplay between parental socialisation and children's development

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Drawing on sociological and psychological theoretical perspectives, this chapter elaborates on two research questions. How does parents' formal education influence children's internet use? And how does children's development by age interact with their family background in terms of an autonomous and competent use of the internet? The interrelation between these two processes, parental socialisation and development by age, helps us understand the interplay of children's activities in dealing with the internet and their parents' handling of that. The chapter first discusses the persistent importance of social inequality for information and communications technology (ICT) use in the industrialised countries. It then elaborates on a theoretical framework by discussing both children and parents' individual agency and how these are interlinked with respect to their societal status. Finally, based on the EU Kids Online dataset, it tests out the theoretical ideas and hypotheses and ask how parental socialisation shapes young people's online competences, and how children's development by age interacts with structural processes and dynamics of socialisation. Children with a lower socio-economic background agree that they know more about the internet than their parents, as these children might acquire internet skills often independently from their parents.

Keywords: Family background; Children's development; Socialisation processes; Internet use; Social economic status; Parental education

Chapter.  5026 words.  Illustrated.

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