I have a right to privacy. Parental monitoring of adolescents use of social network sites.

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O'Reilly, Michelle
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BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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The objective of this paper was to examine how parents monitored adolescent’s use of social networking sites and to ascertain whether different monitoring techniques resulted in different levels of conflict or understanding. The research was conducted using a qualitative research design and the researcher carried out six semi-structured interviews. The findings were then coded into nivio and examined through the use of thematic analysis. The paper found that many parents are unsure of how to monitor their adolescent’s use of social network sites due to a lack of technology awareness. Of the six participants interviewed two participants used direct monitoring, one relied on indirect methods and one on restrictive practice. The final two reported to less involved in the monitoring of social network sites however one used restrictive practices in other areas of risk. Indirect and restrictive methods resulted in a higher level of conflict, a perception of secrecy and distrust on both parts, whereas direct monitoring resulted in lower levels of conflict and more trusting relationship between parent and adolescent. This result tallied with previous studies regarding parental monitoring in other areas of risk. Furthermore the findings show that parents are more aware of certain risks, such as cyber bullying than other possible risks. This shows a need for more discussion on the possible risks and for parents to be given more information of the benefits of direct monitoring and its methods. Author keywords: Social networking, monitoring, conflict, privacy, trust