Bad parenting styles may increase the Internet use in children and teens, says study

Internet use parenting styles

The Internet has become an important part of daily life. People use it to communicate with others, conduct scientific research, facilitate education, catch news about the world, kill time, go shopping online, search jobs, and start business.

Although the Internet brings lots of facilities, it can also create risks for all users, especially children and teens. Too much Internet use can cause academic failure, social isolation, and mental health issue like depression and anxiety.

How to protect children and teens from the negative impact of the Internet is very important. Recently, researchers find that parenting styles are related to children’s Internet use and may protect children from Internet addiction. The finding is published in Computers in Human Behavior.

Researchers claim that there are 4 parenting styles. The first is Permissive. Parents do not demand much of their child and do not refuse their child’s requests.

The second is Authoritative. Parents make practical rules (e.g., Internet-use time), share ideas, and support child’s skills and learning.

The third is Laissez-faire. Parents provide no support or guidance to their child. There is bad communication between parents and the child.

The fourth is Authoritarian. Parents control the child a lot but there is no warmth. The child has to obey the strict rules made by the parents.

Researchers collected data about parenting style and Internet use from 1200+ students and analyzed the relations between the data.

The result showed that laissez-faire (i.e. little communication and support) and permissive (i.e. no rules, no rejection) parenting styles were associated with higher Internet use in children. In children who used Internet 4+ hours, 52% came from families in laissez-faire parenting style, and 30% came from families in permissive parenting style.

Researchers suggest that parents’ communication and support are very important in children’s daily life. When there is a lack of support, warmth, and communication in the family, children may use Internet more to escape from the reality.

In addition, parents should make clear rules about Internet use for children. Such rules include why to use, when to use, the duration of usage, and what content child can see. This can help protect children’s body and mental health and prevent Internet addiction.

Citation: Özgür H. (2016). The relationship between Internet parenting styles and Internet usage of children and adolescents. Computers in Human Behavior, 60: 411-424. doi:
Figure legend: This image is credited to Federico Morando.