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How does parents’ education influence internet use by their children?

Dulce Manzano and María Fernández-Mellizo, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM); Adapted by: Sílvia Galilea and Carina Bellver (StoryData)

The digital divide, understood as inequalities in access to and use of information and communication technologies (ICT), has consequences on equality of opportunities for citizens. This is not a recent problem; social researchers have been studying it since the 1990s. With the aim of examining the reasons for this inequality, this article analyses the ICT use patterns of Spanish children of compulsory secondary school age and shows that children of university graduates use the internet less when they are at home. Furthermore, this population uses the various digital devices more for educational than for leisure purposes.
Key points
  • 1
       Children who grow up in households with a higher educational level use new technologies with more moderation. Specifically, children whose parents have a university degree or post-compulsory schooling spend less time on the internet.
  • 2
       The higher the educational level of the parents, the greater the child’s propensity to use new technologies for educational purposes, rather than using ICTs for leisure purposes.
  • 3
       The economic status of the household, however, has precisely the opposite effect to parental education, as this represents the key to access to new technologies. A wider variety of devices in the home can cause internet use to increase.
Does parents' education condition the time their children use the internet?
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