Stop! Collaborate and Listen: A Content Analysis of Peer-Reviewed Articles Investigating Parenting Strategies for Managing Adolescent Internet Use
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Research on how families deal with setting boundaries and rules for young family members is very limited in the field of family therapy. By using content analysis methods, the six authors were able to qualitatively analyze the findings from 28 evidence-based articles from multiple journals that yielded five themes that may prove useful for educators, family therapists, researchers and parents. The five themes include: Parental Efficacy; Parenting Styles; Mediation, Monitoring and Collaboration; Adolescent Risk and Risky Behavior; and Adolescent Constructive Internet Use. Parents with positive Internet experience and parents who employed a more positive attitude toward their adolescents appeared to be more efficacious in controlling their adolescents’ use of the Internet. Age and gender were important in how parents monitored the Internet usage of their daughters and sons; older adolescents were given more freedom of choice. Parents who embraced an authoritative parenting style mediated Internet use more than authoritarian or neglectful parents. Implications suggest that parents are more successful in setting boundaries when they themselves have more than basic skills, are willing to negotiate Internet use with their adolescents, and are aware of gender differences in Internet use. Therapeutic strategies for building healthy Internet use in families include: developing family values that include input from the adolescent; building parent skills and understanding of the Internet; and supporting parents in mentoring and guiding their adolescents in setting healthy boundaries that fit their maturity and gender. It is crucial that therapists help parents protect their children as they take a collaborative and positive approach to educating their children about both the risks and positive aspects of the Internet.
KeywordsParents Adolescent Internet use Boundaries Social media
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