Do you talk to your child about social media? An empirical study about Danish parents’ communication with their children about Social media: Engagement, Concerns and Fears

University essay from Malmö högskola/Fakulteten för kultur och samhälle (KS)

Abstract: The aim of this study is to research how and if Danish parents communicate with their children about the use of social media. The motivation for this study is based on the findings from the EU Kids Online report from 2014, in which 25 European countries have participated. Their research focused on children, whereas my study is concentrated on the parents. My empirical data is based on a questionnaire and follow-up interviews. The questionnaire has 193 respondents and from these, I chose three for follow up-interviews. The theoretical framework is mediatization, parental mediation and moral panic. Mediatization theory is concerned about the media and other social relations. Therefore, this theory is relevant, as this study has focused on how parents communicate with their children about social media and how this affects the family life. Parental mediation encompasses three strategies for communicating about social media. In this way, the theory has provided an understanding and explanation on how parents deal with their children being on social media, and it was important for the majority of the respondents to talk about it. The last theory is moral panic. This was found to be a helpful theory for the analysis, as many of the respondents expressed concerns and fears about their children being on social media throughout the questionnaire.It can be concluded from this research that parents are very different regarding how to communicate about social media. Despite the age-restriction many of the parents allow their children to be on social media. However, many of the parents have and do create some restrictions for their children, so they can use social media platforms. Overall, there seems to be a strong involvement for the majority of the parents in relation their children’s use of social media. Even though many parents have talked with their children about social media, there are still concerns and fears about the use of social media. One of the new problems is in relation to the fear of their children sharing content of a sexual nature. This concern might departure from the fact that children see what teenagers do, and, furthermore, face a lot of sexual toned content through media. It should be discussed, how the increasing tendency among children to share sexual content, is due to a lack of focus on content sharing on social media.

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