Using the Internet is a daily occurrence for parents and children in today's world.
Although they use the Internet differently, many individuals may face online hazards
that they may be ill equipped to deal with. To better understand Internet use and
online behaviours, a study was conducted with 227 parents of early adolescent (ages
11 to 14 years) middle school students (grades 6, 7 and 8). Four important findings
emerged: (1) parents are using the Internet like their children but have different
online behaviours; (2) parents have Internet use rules at home; (3) parents are participating
in risky Internet behaviours (electronic aggression, intentional online harassment
and communication with online strangers); and (4) parents are concerned about their
child's online safety, specifically about the exposure to sexually explicit materials
and online strangers, but the majority of parents do not know where to report negative
or unsafe Internet experiences. Nurses, clinicians, healthcare providers and other
professionals can and do provide comprehensive care to families by identifying needs
and areas of knowledge deficit. By asking Internet use questions, nurses and other
professionals are able to develop plans of care for all family members that will promote
Internet safety and healthy lifestyle choices.