40 per cent parents learn how to use technology from kids
Researchers from University Diego Portales in Santiago, Chile, conducted in-depth interviews with 14 parent/child sets and surveyed 242 parent/child sets.
They found that youth influence their parents in all technologies studied (computer, mobile Internet, social networking) up to 40 per cent of the time.
The children's scores were higher compared to parents, showing that parents don't necessarily recognise the influence. Parents also learned how to use technologies by self-experimentation.
This bottom-up influence process was more likely to occur with mothers and lower socioeconomic families, researchers said.
Digital media represents a new environment for lower socioeconomic families, and the children from poorer families were more likely to receive input about technology from school and friends. This spills over and, in turn, the children teach their parents, researchers added.
"The fact that this bottom-up technology transmission occurs more frequently among women and lower-SES families has important implications," said researcher Teresa Correa.
"Women and poor people usually lag behind in the adoption and usage of technology. Many times, they do not have the means to acquire new technologies but, most importantly, they are less likely to have the knowledge, skills, perceived competence, and positive attitudes toward digital media.
"These results suggest that schools in lower-income areas should be especially considered in government or foundation-led intervention programmes that promote usage of digital media," Correa said.
The study was published in the Journal of Communication.