Child Safety Software in Everyday Parenting: Acceptance and Use of Technical Tools in Parents’ Media Education
Why do parents decide for or against technical youth protection programmes? Many parents do not know enough about the functions and possible applications of these programmes, they are insecure about the installation of the software or think that it is better to trust their children than controlling them. These are the findings of a qualitative study, in which parents were asked about the role of technical support and obstacles in everyday media education.
Most parents, in fact, know about software for youth protection but that relatively few of them use it – so far the results of the former qualitative studies carried out by the Hans-Bredow-Institut. These studies revealed why parents use youth protection software but they did not focus on the question why parents do not use technical aids. Marcel Rechlitz and Claudia Lampert pursued this question in a qualitative study, funded by the Bundesfamilienministerium [Federal Ministry for Families]. To answer this question, they interviewed 40 parents who have children aged six to sixteen about their media education, the media usage of their children, their attitude towards youth media protection as well as the use of software solutions.
The findings of this study show that the parents can very well imagine using technical programmes but decide against it for pedagogic, technical or media-related reasons. Some parents want to base their media education rather on trust than on control. Other parents do not feel very confident with the requirements of the programmes or do not know enough about the technical possibilities and concrete software products.
The study was part of the project “Youth Media Protection and Media Education in Digital Media Environments”, funded by the Bundesministerium für Familien, Senioren, Frauen und Jugen (BMFSFJ) [Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth [Germany]. 40 guided interviews with parents of children aged six to sixteen were conducted in the period between March and April 2014. The interviews were analysed by using the analysis software MAXQDA11.
The focus of this study lied in the more detailed reconstruction of the grounds against the use of technical instruments for youth media protection on computers or other online-capable devices. A qualitative study involving 40 families with children aged six to sixteen links to these findings and seeks to offer insight into where, from a parental viewpoint, the practical obstacles lie in integrating the measures for technical youth media protection in families’ everyday life. We are also tackling the question as to the parents’ attitude towards youth media protection and the use of software solution. The findings of the study provide answers to the questions of what parents think of youth media protection software, what expectations they have, why they oppose using the software and how they integrate it in their family’s everyday life.