A recent survey by Kapersky Lab, a cybersecurity company, which surveyed more than 3,700 families in seven countries, found that whereas parents used to be the first port of call for children seeking answers to questions or advice, 23% of the parents surveyed said their children now preferred to go online, and 31% felt that the internet isolated them from their children.
The research also found that 42% of parents were not friends with their children on social networks, and 18% said this was because their children would find it embarrassing.
Of those surveyed, 21% of parents and 22% of children said the internet could cause family tension. While it did not include South Africa, Dr Craig Blewett, senior lecturer in information systems and technology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said the survey reflected findings in similar studies in Africa that “parents have become strangers to their children and bonding has been lost” because of the “Facebook culture” that had developed.
However, Blewett cautioned that the research had to be looked at in perspective as nearly 70% of people in the Kapersky study did not feel that social media isolated them from their children.
“Care needs to be taken in being too quick to blame the internet for all our social issues,” he said.