This may not surprise you in any way. Findings of a study conducted by Kaspersky Lab and iconKids & Youth reveal that the Internet is posing a big impact on family relationships. A fifth of the parents who responded to the survey think that the World Wide Web and connected devices can easily cause tension among family members.
The survey had more than 3,700 families as respondents across seven countries globally. It provides an insight into how the online connectivity is disrupting traditional family dynamics. For instance, while in the past, children prefer to seek answers to their questions from their parents, about 23% of the parents surveyed reveal that their kids now prefer to log online to find answers to their queries.
Moreover, up to 42% of the parents-respondents admit that they are not connected as friends with their children on social networks. About 18% think that this could be because their children may find it embarrassing to have them around in their social media accounts.
Furthermore, 215of the parents and 22% of the children who participated in the poll said the Internet is causing family tension. About 31% of the parents believe that online connectivity, ironically, just isolates them from their kids.
One possible cause of such conflicts, according to analysts, is the fact that devices are often shared by family members. About two-thirds of the families in the survey share a single computer at home. Consequently, some parents (31%) reveal having to face complaints from their children for breaking something on a connected device of infecting it with a virus, while some (24%) has had to shoulder bills for downloads or purchases that their kids ordered online. Around 16% of the kids accuse their parents of accidentally deleting some of their important data.
Changing family dynamics
“It is only natural that using – and misusing – each other’s connected devices can become a cause of conflict for families. However, as we spend more and more time online, family dynamics are also changing. It is important that families maintain an ongoing dialogue about how to spot and respond to potential dangers, with parents and children together agreeing on the basic rules on how they can best navigate the digital world,” said Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab.
“It is also important to be serious about protection. We recommend installing an integrated home Internet security solution on all devices in the home. This should be enhanced with Parental Control software, which can block access to inappropriate sites or apps and prevent sensitive data from being shared or deleted,” he added.
“Although Internet becomes a source of conflict in some families, a recent study by the Joint Research Center of the European Commission interestingly underlines an emerging trend, with siblings and extended family members taking on a much bigger role in children’s online activities. Unsurprisingly, children are instinctively turning to the person they perceive to be able to fix technical issues, advise on sites and security tools and provide more objective responses to delicate queries,” commented Janice Richardson, Senior Advisor at European Schoolnet.
She adds, “This underlines the importance of parents and guardians developing their own technical competence and building trusting relationships with their children whilst also establishing basic rules on Internet and device usage to avoid conflicts. At the same time, software and social media providers, too, should seek to develop more ‘family-friendly’ tools.”