The influence of adolescents’ psychosocial wellbeing and internet-specific parenting on meeting online contacts in real life
Heuvel, A. van den
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The main purpose of this longitudinal study was to investigate the relationship between adolescents’ psychosocial wellbeing and internet-specific parenting on meeting online contacts IRL. Information was collected amongst adolescents who participated in the Monitor Internet and Youth of the Addiction Research Institute (IVO, The Netherlands): 5237 adolescents in 2007, 5403 adolescents in 2008 and 2416 adolescents participated in both surveys. Both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses were performed. The results show that low self-esteem and low feelings of loneliness predict a larger chance to meet online contacts IRL a year later. For depression and social anxiety only cross-sectional relations were found, indicating that depressed feelings are related to a larger chance to meet online contacts IRL, but that this is no causal relationship. In addition, negative longitudinal relations were found between parental rules about the content of internet use, parental monitoring and the quality of communication about internet use on meeting online contacts IRL a year later. Cross-sectionally, positive relations were found between the parental rules about the duration of internet use and the frequency of the communication about internet use. Overall, when parents want to prevent their children from meeting online contacts IRL, it would be wise to impose strict rules about the content of their children’s internet use, to monitor their internet use and to have high quality communication about it.