A literature review of parents’ online behavior


The purpose of this literature review was to compile and analyze the research that has been conducted on parents’ use of the Internet and determine what we know about how parents use the Internet in everyday life. A comprehensive literature review focusing on studies that have asked parents about their Internet use was conducted to include research published through December 2011. This yielded 27 studies. Articles were summarized and then organized by content. Three main themes emerged: what parents are doing online, social support online, and the digital divide. This literature review revealed that parents go online to search for parenting information and social support and generally report satisfaction with the resources they find on the Internet. Parents still express hesitation in trusting various online resources, though, and desire greater education in Internet searching and deciphering the credibility of online information. In addition, this review also exposes gaps in current research, provides direction for future research, and has implications for how to effectively reach parents using the Internet.

parenting; literature review; education; Internet use
Author biographies

Jodi Dworkin

Author photo Dr. Jodi Dworkin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Social Science and with Minnesota Extension at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA. Her research and outreach focuses on healthy exploration among adolescents and college students, promoting positive family development, and parenting adolescents and college students. One of her current research projects is Parenting2.0, designed to gain a better understanding of the ways in which, and the reasons that parents use technology.

Jessica Connell

Author photo Jessie Connell is a PhD student in the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA. Her research interests revolve around families and technology, parenting, and youth development. She is specifically interested in technology use for family communication during adolescence and emerging adulthood.

Jennifer Doty

Author photo Jennifer Doty is a PhD student in the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA. Her research interests include parents' access to social capital online and offline and the relationship between parents and adolescents. She also has an interest in family based prevention and intervention.

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