Internet use and usage of Chinese
teenagers at home: Understanding
demographic and parenting influence
Dr. Wilfred W.F. La...
Outline of the presentation
Introduction
Literature
Method
Results
Discussion
Conclusion
Introduction
It is increasingly being realised that students’ home use of ICT has a significant
positive effect on their a...
Introduction
The present study draws on the theoretical framework of Bronfenbrenner’s
Bioecological Systems Theory (1979, ...
Literature Review
Conceptualisation of internet use and usage
In this study, internet use refers to the time spent on the ...
Literature Review
Demographic influence
Livingstone and Helsper (2007) found that boys used the internet more
frequently t...
Literature Review
Parental influence
Studies have examined the influence of the following parental variables on
teenage in...
Literature Review
Parental influence
In terms of parental mediation, Lee and Chae (2007) showed that parental
restrictions...
Literature Review
Internet use and usage of teenagers in China
According to the 2012 Research Report of China Youth Intern...
Literature Review
On the basis of the literature review above, the present study addressed the
following research question...
Method
Participants
A total of 575 students from six middle schools participated in this study on a
voluntary basis. Of th...
Method
Independent variables
Demographic variables consisted of age, gender, internet experience, and
internet literacy.
P...
Method
Data analysis
Three pairs of hierarchical multiple regression were conducted to test the effects
of demographics an...
Results
As shown in Table 1, students had spent an average of two to three hours on
computers / the internet every day in ...
Results
Variable Mean SD
Dependent variables
Internet use
2.071 1.273
Learning-related internet usage
2.755 .839
Leisure-r...
Results
From Table 2, in the first hierarchical regression analysis, demographic
variables together accounted for 3.6% of ...
Results
Regression Predictors Internet use Learning-related internet usage Leisure-related internet usage
First Step 1 β β...
Discussion
Consistent with the tenets of Bronfenbrenner’s (1979, 2005) Bioecological
Systems Theory, internet use and usag...
Discussion
For RQ2, internet use was negatively associated with father’s educational level.
Mother’s educational level had...
Discussion
The results from hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that parents
played a dominant role in inf...
Conclusion
Home provides an important environment for the growth and development of
young people. Researchers have been ex...
Q & A Session
Thank
you
very
much
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Internet Use and Usage of Chinese Teenagers at Home: Understanding Demographic and Parenting Influence

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Author
LAU, Wilfred W.F. (HKU); YUEN, Allan H.K. (HKU)
Abstract
This study investigated the effects of demographics and parenting on Chinese teenagers’ internet use and usage at home. Using a sample of 575 Chinese teenagers, some internet use and usage patterns in relation to individual characteristics and parenting influence were observed. The findings from hierarchical multiple regression analysis revealed that parents still play a dominant role in influencing internet use and usage among the teenagers, as compared with their own influence. Learning-related and leisure-related internet usages were positively related to parental warmth and parental control respectively. Overall, this study provides a snapshot of teenagers’ internet use and usage at home in China today.

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Internet Use and Usage of Chinese Teenagers at Home: Understanding Demographic and Parenting Influence

  1. 1. Internet use and usage of Chinese teenagers at home: Understanding demographic and parenting influence Dr. Wilfred W.F. Lau Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong 13 June 2014
  2. 2. Outline of the presentation Introduction Literature Method Results Discussion Conclusion
  3. 3. Introduction It is increasingly being realised that students’ home use of ICT has a significant positive effect on their academic achievement. Jackson, von Eye, Biocca, Barbatsis, Zhao, and Fitzgerald (2006) found in their study of low-income children that increased home internet use was associated with higher standardized reading achievement scores and grade point averages. Parents often express their worries and concerns over their teenage internet use at home (Sorbring, 2014), and this raises the need for parental strategies to ensure children’s internet safety (Byrne et al., 2014, Livingstone and Helsper, 2008).
  4. 4. Introduction The present study draws on the theoretical framework of Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Systems Theory (1979, 2005), which conceptualises human development under the influence of the external environment. In families with adolescents, parents, as the primary socialisation agents in the microsystem, are expected to have a great influence on their adolescent’s internet use and usage. On the other hand, it is highly likely that adolescent demographics also affect adolescents’ use of the internet. Thus, it is justifiable to consider parents and adolescents as the two most important contextual factors influencing adolescents’ internet use and usage at home.
  5. 5. Literature Review Conceptualisation of internet use and usage In this study, internet use refers to the time spent on the internet and internet usage refers to the actual use of the internet for different purposes (Yuen et al., 2014). This study used the uses and gratifications theory (UGT) to classify the motives of internet activities as it has provided a good theoretical basis for the conceptualisation of internet usage in many previous studies (Kalmus, Realo, & Siibak, 2011). Central to the theory is that individuals select specific media to gratify their different needs. It is the differences in demographics and needs that determine how and why media are used.
  6. 6. Literature Review Demographic influence Livingstone and Helsper (2007) found that boys used the internet more frequently than girls; boys had more internet experience and spent a longer time online than girls. The authors also found that the young to mid-teens (aged 12-17) tended to be frequent internet users and to spend more time online. Appel (2012) indicated that students who were more computer literate tended to spend more time playing computer games. These students were also frequent users of social media.
  7. 7. Literature Review Parental influence Studies have examined the influence of the following parental variables on teenage internet use and usage: parenting style, parental educational level, and parental mediation. Recent studies usually use parental warmth and control to represent parenting style in regard to ICT use. Lwin, Stanaland, and Miyazaki (2008) found that parental control reduced the levels of internet usage. However, Eastin et al. (2006) reported that parenting style did not affect time spent online. On the other hand, Lee and Chae (2007) found that parental warmth appeared to be associated with more educational use of the internet and positive internet behaviours. Parental educational level has been found to enhance internet usage. Sun et al. (2005) found that parental educational level was positively related to internet usage among adolescents.
  8. 8. Literature Review Parental influence In terms of parental mediation, Lee and Chae (2007) showed that parental restrictions on the time span and type of web sites did not alter children’s actual internet usage. On the other hand, Lee (2013) demonstrated that restrictive mediation negatively predicted time spent online during weekdays and during the weekend.
  9. 9. Literature Review Internet use and usage of teenagers in China According to the 2012 Research Report of China Youth Internet Behaviors (CNNIC, 2013a), middle school students on average spent 13.3 hours online every week. The three most popular internet usages among these students were instant messaging (87.1%), information search (86.9%), and online music (84.2%). Huang (2014) reported that many teachers complained parents for not properly control their children’s social media use at home and believed that this caused social media addiction among teenagers. On the other hand, parents found it difficult to exercise effective control of their children’s social media use at home.
  10. 10. Literature Review On the basis of the literature review above, the present study addressed the following research questions (RQs) and hypotheses (Hs):  RQ1: What are the effects of teen demographics on internet use and usage among teenagers in China?  H1: The young to middle teenagers are more frequent internet users than teenagers of other ages.  H2: Male teenagers engage in more internet use and usage than female teenagers.  H3: Teenagers with more internet experience engage in more internet use and usage.  H4: Teenagers with higher levels of internet literacy engage in more internet use and usage.  RQ2: What are the effects of parenting on internet use and usage among teenagers in China?  H5: Parental warmth is positively related to learning-related internet usage.  H6: Parental control has no effect on, or is negatively related to, internet use and usage.  H7: Parental educational level is positively related to internet usage.  H8: Parental restrictive mediation has no effect on, or is negatively related to, internet usage.
  11. 11. Method Participants A total of 575 students from six middle schools participated in this study on a voluntary basis. Of the participants, 288 were male and 278 were female (Nine students did not report their gender). Their mean age was 13.928 (SD = .874). The schools are located in the Nanshan District of Shenzhen, China. Dependent variables Students’ internet use was measured by students’ responses to a single item: “In the past two weeks, how many hours on average have you spent on computers / the internet every day?” The item was measured on a 5-point scale, with 1: less than two hours; 2: two to three hours; 3: four to five hours; 4: six to seven hours; and 5: more than eight hours. Internet usage at home was assessed in relation to two dimensions: (a) learning and (b) leisure (Kalmus, Realo, & Siibak, 2011). The first dependent variable, learning-related internet usage, contained seven items, while the second dependent variable, leisure-related internet usage, contained five items. All items were measured according to a 5-point Likert scale, with 1: never, to 5: always.
  12. 12. Method Independent variables Demographic variables consisted of age, gender, internet experience, and internet literacy. Parenting style was measured using a scale based on parental warmth and control dimensions (Valcke et al., 2010) and previously validated with Hong Kong parents (Lau & Yuen, 2013). There were 4 subscales: encouragement, worry, monitoring, and permission. A 5-point Likert scale, from 1: strongly disagree, to 5: strongly agree, was used for all the items. Parental educational level was assessed with two items, and three options provided, with 1: completed elementary school; 2: completed high school; and 3: completed college or above. The following item measured parental mediation: “How many hours maximum do your parents allow you to use computers / the internet every day?” This item was measured on a 6-point scale, with 1: can only use under supervision; 2: less than half an hour; 3: half an hour to less than one hour; 4: one hour to less than two hours; 5: two hours or more; and 6: no restriction.
  13. 13. Method Data analysis Three pairs of hierarchical multiple regression were conducted to test the effects of demographics and parenting on internet use and usage. For each pair of the regression model, the block of demographic variables was first entered, which was then followed by the block of parenting variables. In the second analysis of the pair, in order to compare the unique contribution of demographics and parenting on internet use and usage in terms of the proportion of variance explained, the order of entry of the two blocks was reversed (Petrocelli, 2003).
  14. 14. Results As shown in Table 1, students had spent an average of two to three hours on computers / the internet every day in the two weeks preceding the time of the survey. They were engaged less in learning-related internet usage than in leisure-related internet usage. They had, on average, 8 to 11 years of experience of using computers / the internet and regarded their internet literacy as good. The dominant parenting style was permission, which was followed by worry, encouragement, and monitoring. In terms of educational level, fathers and mothers had at least completed high school. On average, parents allowed their children to use computers / the internet from one to two hours every day.
  15. 15. Results Variable Mean SD Dependent variables Internet use 2.071 1.273 Learning-related internet usage 2.755 .839 Leisure-related internet usage 3.117 .887       Independent variables Demographic factor Age 13.928 .874 Gender 0.491 .500 Internet experience 3.355 1.116 Internet literacy 2.787 .985 Parenting factor     Encouragement 2.952 .897 Worry 3.291 .916 Monitoring 2.874 1.079 Permission 3.475 .899 Father educational level 2.561 .548 Mother educational level 2.422 .624 Parental mediation 4.132 1.524 Table 1. Means and standard deviations of the variables used
  16. 16. Results From Table 2, in the first hierarchical regression analysis, demographic variables together accounted for 3.6% of the variance in internet use, 4.4% in learning-related internet usage, and 5.7% in leisure-related internet usage. The inclusion of parenting variables in the second block increased the variance explained from 5.3% to 13.6% for the respective dependent variables. When the two blocks of variables were entered in reverse order in the second hierarchical regression analysis, parenting variables account for 6.4% of the variance in internet use, 14.6% in learning-related internet usage, and 16.8% in leisure-related internet usage. Demographic variables explained an additional 2.5% to 3.0% of the variance in the three dependent variables when they were included.
  17. 17. Results Regression Predictors Internet use Learning-related internet usage Leisure-related internet usage First Step 1 β β β   Age .096* -.014 .045   Gender -.121* .022 -.063   Internet experience .115* .134** .158**   Internet literacy .021 .120* .119*   R2 .036** .044*** .057***   Step 2         Encouragement .040 .297*** -.010   Worry -.035 .108* .060   Monitoring .030 .083 .178***   Permission .115* -.100* .302***   Father educational level -.139* .040 .032   Mother educational level -.082 .083 -.091   Parental mediation .019 -.027 -.031   ∆R2 .053*** .132*** .136*** Second Step 1 β β β   Encouragement .047 .289*** -.009   Worry -.035 .103* .057   Monitoring .038 .099* .190***   Permission .141* -.064 .335***   Father educational level -.151* .043 .026   Mother educational level -.067 .103 -.074   Parental mediation .019 -.034 -.034   R2 .064*** .146*** .168***   Step 2         Age .046 .022 .046   Gender -.111* .050 -.040   Internet experience .109* .107* .121*   Internet literacy .024 .107* .066   ∆R2 .025* .030* .025* Total R2 .089*** .176*** .193*** Table 2. Hierarchical multiple regression of demographic and parenting variables on internet use and usage *p < 0.05. **p < 0.01. ***p < 0.001. *p < 0.05. **p < 0.01. ***p < 0.001.
  18. 18. Discussion Consistent with the tenets of Bronfenbrenner’s (1979, 2005) Bioecological Systems Theory, internet use and usage were predicted by a unique combination of demographic and parenting variables. This provided evidence to confirm or refute some of the hypotheses made in this study. For RQ1, internet use was not associated with age and this did not support H1. Males tended to spend more time on the internet than females and students with more internet experience were more likely to spend longer time on the internet. More internet experience also resulted in more internet usage. Those with higher internet literacy tended to engage in more learning-related activities. This is very encouraging from parents’ perspective. These findings support H2 to H4 and are consistent with the findings reported in previous research (Appel, 2012, Livingstone and Helsper, 2007, Soh et al., 2013).
  19. 19. Discussion For RQ2, internet use was negatively associated with father’s educational level. Mother’s educational level had no effect on internet use and usage. It is speculated that better educated fathers may make use of a variety of parenting strategies including the installation of filtering and blocking software to limit the time their children spend on the internet, and some of these strategies may be less known among better educated mothers. In terms of internet usage, learning-related and leisure-related internet usages were positively related to parental warmth and parental control respectively. H5 was supported but H6 was not. Internet usage was not associated with parental educational level and thus H7 was not supported. Parental restrictive mediation expressed in the form of a limit in the amount of internet use has virtually no effect in the regulation of use and usage. H8 was supported. This agrees with the findings of Lee and Chae (2007) that while parental restrictions on the time span and type of web sites did not alter children’s actual internet usage, parental warmth was associated with more educational use of the internet and positive internet behaviours. These findings indicate that the emotional climate created by parents appears to affect internet behaviours (Darling and Steinberg, 1993).
  20. 20. Discussion The results from hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that parents played a dominant role in influencing the teenagers’ internet use and usage. Parenting as a means of socialisation exerted a greater effect on the teenagers’ internet use and usage than the influence of teen demographics. Parents were able to provide a family socialisation context in which to influence their teenage children in terms of parental values and goals. While the majority of previous studies have focused on adolescents’ internet access and use, this study addressed the issue of internet use and usage. Also, there is a dearth of related research within the home context in the literature, and this study attempted to fill this gap and advance our current understanding of the topic. Overall, the findings of this study provide a snapshot of teenagers’ internet use and usage at home in China today.
  21. 21. Conclusion Home provides an important environment for the growth and development of young people. Researchers have been exploring the interactive socialisation process by which parents attempt to transmit their values, attitudes, goals, and skills to their teenage children. With the increasing amount of ICT access at home, attention has been paid to examine parenting within the context of internet use and usage as well as the educational outcomes. This study sheds light on how individual characteristics and parenting shape teenage internet use and usage at home in China. Given that there are potential differences in terms of demographics and parenting across Chinese cities, there is a need to consolidate the evidence collected in this study in future research.
  22. 22. Q & A Session Thank you very much

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