By Annalise Sultana
With the current rise in technology-usage, some adolescents also use the internet in the home context. For parents, it is therefore advisable to develop a way in which the impressions and fears of the use of the internet by their children are identified, discussed and evaluated.
The main aim of this study was to analyse parents’ perceptions regarding the use of the internet for learning in the home context while considering the effect of their educational level on their perceptions and readiness to accept the internet as a tool for learning. This study that was part of a Master of Arts in Comparative Euro-Mediterranean Education Studies and was carried out following the award of a STEPS scholarship part-financed by the E.U.-European Social Fund.
Data was gathered quantitatively through a questionnaire and qualitatively through discussions in focus groups. Parental educational level was used as the main factor for data analysis and comparison. The results showed that under certain conditions, parents’ educational level influences their views and behaviours.
PSLE (parents having up to a secondary level of education) were more aware of the lack of control that may arise while their children are online. Nonetheless, they tend to use less filtering techniques and parental control software while their lack of technological knowledge inhibits their use of the internet .These parents consider the internet as a competitor to learning and are of the opinion that its use in education should be well controlled.
On the other hand, PTLE (parents having a tertiary level of education) are more aware of possible engagement behaviours while their kids use the internet. For them this medium can complement school learning but should never replace face-to-face learning.
All parents suggested that schools can help a lot in promoting the use of the internet that provides a range of online tools to link the school with the home context.
This research has given parents the voice that they deserve regarding the use of the internet for learning as that they can either contribute to or hinder the learning that is going on in schools. Given that I work as a teacher, this research helped me a lot to understand whether the pedagogy that is used in classrooms is being supported and encouraged in the home context as well.