Teenagers around the world use technology to keep in touch. But what are the rules? And who in the family decides what is okay? Ericsson ConsumerLab conducted an online study of 2000 US teenagers, aged 13-17, to find out.
The study found that even if children have more say in how to use technology, parents are still much involved in how and when their young teenagers are using computers, mobile phones and Facebook. Facebook and "how to use the computer" are the two things parents seem to have strict rules about, especially for those aged 13-14. Around 30 percent of parents typically make the decisions for their children at this age.
The parents’ decision-making for their teenagers is a combination of their consideration of the child’s age and their parenting style. By understanding the parenting style, we can also predict how decisions are made about technology usage.
Noticeably, the majority of teenagers and parents decide things together – the democratic parenting style. And there is hardly any difference in how the parents make decisions for the different genders.
When it comes to what they can have in their rooms, around 85-90 percent of teenagers aged 13-17 are allowed to have their mobile and iPod touch in their room. The great majority also have a TV in their room. And there is no difference between ages or gender.
But it is a different story with computers. Only half of the 13-year-olds were allowed to have a computer in their room. Even at the age of 17, 34 percent of boys and 28 percent of girls are not allowed to have a computer in their room. Clearly there is a difference in how parents view the mobile and the computer.
The key findings are that teenagers’ technology usage depends not only on their age, but also on the parenting style at home. Another important factor is what knowledge the parents themselves have of technology, which will help form their opinions and, in turn, influence their children’s technology usage.
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