Parental rules on tech use can hurt academic achievement

Parental rules on tech use can hurt academic achievement

Parents who restrict their children’s use of new media technologies may be acting counterproductively in the long run, particularly if they invoke afterschool homework time as the reason. Their children’s scholastic achievements at college lag behind the academic performance of same-age peers, a University of Zurich study shows.

Hargittai and Cingel have shown that students whose parents had set clear rules on technology use during childhood and cited reasons for doing so do not outperform their fellow students in college. On the contrary, when parents justified their rule-setting with the specific reasoning that technology use cuts into homework time, their children actually performed worse in college. That’s an interesting finding, says Prof. Hargittai: “Parents normally set these rules to promote their children’s scholastic development and to make sure that they invest enough time in schoolwork. But that evidently can also backfire: The well-intended rule can have unintended adverse consequences.” One might argue that it’s mainly the parents of children experiencing difficulty in school who tend to set rules to encourage homework diligence. Yet scholastic aptitude during high school was also factored into the statistical analysis. The effect of technology use rules on later-life school grades turned out negative regardless of scholastic aptitude.

Source: Rules about technology use can undermine academic achievement


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