Nearly 40 percent of parents across the world, especially women and those belonging to lower-middle and poor families, learn from their children how to use computer or internet.
According to researchers in Santiago, Chile, youth influence their parents in all technologies studied – computer, cell phone, internet and social networking, up to 40 percent of the time.
Researchers, led by Teresa Correa from University Diego Portales in Chile, conducted in-depth interviews with 14 parents/child sets and surveyed 242 parents/child sets.
She found that this bottom-up influence process was more likely to occur with mothers and lower socio-economic families.
Some parents also learned how to use technologies by self-experimentation.
“Digital media represents a new environment for lower socio-economic families. Children from poorer families receive input about technology from school and friends. This spills over and, in turn, the children teach their parents,” said Correa.
Women and poor people usually lag behind in the adoption and usage of technology, said the study published in Journal of Communication.
“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,” added Correa.
These results suggest that schools in lower-income areas should be especially considered in government or foundation-led intervention programs that promote usage of digital media.