Perceptions and experiences of children, parents and teachers regarding the internet usage, risks and safety for children

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2014
Kaşıkçı, Duygu Nazire
With the development of online technology and the Internet, opportunities has been offered for variety areas such as education, entertainment, commercial and communication to the Internet users. However, there is a general concern about the harmful consequences of certain online activities. The aim of this study is to examine the children's, parents' and teachers' experiences and perceptions about the risks of the Internet for children. This was accomplished by identifying children's Internet usage at school and in general, and by examining the Internet risks for children and the safety considerations. This research study utilized a mixed method approach that a quantitative and qualitative data collection and analyses were conducted. Convenience sampling method is used in the study. Data were collected from four elementary and secondary schools in Ankara, Turkey. The quantitative data were collected from 350 children who were between 3rd to 8th grades through a survey. Moreover, the qualitative data were gathered from 9 parents and 12 teachers with conducting interviews. For validation of the results children's, teachers', and parents' perceptions and experiences were also reported. Data were analyzed by using descriptive statistics and Chi-square test for quantitative data and content analysis for qualitative data. The results of the study showed that children started to use the Internet at average age of 7. Half of the children used the Internet every day in general, but the Internet usage was not common in schools because of the limited Internet access. Moreover, the most frequently performed activity for students on the Internet was studying. This study further revealed that few children have been bothered by the Internet risks. However, detailed investigation showed that nearly half of the children experienced the technical risks of the Internet. Moreover, sexuality, meeting with strangers, violence and spoofing were seen as the potential risks of the Internet for children by parents and teachers. In this study, children mostly consulted parents, friends and teachers regarding the Internet safety. It was also revealed that parents guided the children more than teachers while parents asked for help from guidance counselor teacher to solve children's problems related with the Internet. Furthermore, parents had precautious such as monitoring browsing history and setting passwords to prevent children from the risks of the Internet. Further, it was revealed that teachers explained the disadvantages of the Internet to children as precaution. Finally, the Chi-square test of independence revealed that there were significant associations among exposure of children to risk and several factors. These factors were gender, membership of social network, self-confidence and confidence of children in parents and teachers. According to the implications of this study, it can be suggested that children should access the Internet more to learn how they overcome the Internet risks under the supervision of parents and teachers. Moreover, according to the result of this study it can be suggested that government and Ministry of National Education should provide more resources such as courses for children, pedagogical assistance for parents, and in-service trainings and instructional materials for teachers.

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Citation Formats
D. N. Kaşıkçı, “Perceptions and experiences of children, parents and teachers regarding the internet usage, risks and safety for children,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2014.