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FSD2534 Virtual Youth Work 2007: Parents' Survey

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Authors

  • Merikivi, Jani (Finnish Youth Research Society. Finnish Youth Research Network)

Keywords

Internet, consumers, expenditure, income, online services, parental supervision, social media, virtual communities, youth, youth culture, youth work

Abstract

The survey studied Internet use, the use of the social virtual world Habbo Hotel by the respondents' children and online youth counselling carried out in Habbo Hotel by the Netari.fi project. The respondents were users of the social networking website Suomi24 who were also parents of minors. Data were also collected from young people using Habbo Hotel services (FSD2533).

First, the respondents were asked about the location of the computer with Internet connection at home. They rated the importance of various communication channels (press, radio, television, Internet and other communication networks, books, movies, mobile phone). Internet use was charted by enquiring how often the respondents used the Internet and for what (e.g. online banking, music, chatting, e-mail, games, shopping). They were asked how familiar they were with a number of Finnish and international online web services and how strictly specific discussion forums were moderated. Views were probed on the usefulness of the Internet for children and youngsters (e.g. for information searching, keeping in touch with others, self-expression etc.) and possible harms of the use (e.g. violent content, lack of exercise or sleep, unwanted contacts, addiction). Parental participation and advice given regarding the Internet use of the minors were charted, as well as restrictions imposed on the use.

One theme pertained to their children's use of the Habbo Hotel virtual world. The respondents were asked whether they approve of the use, how safe they considered the site to be, what their children did in Habbo, and did they approve of spending money on virtual products.

Views on the youth counselling provided in the Habbo Hotel youth house were charted next. The respondents were asked how important such youth work was, who should finance virtual youth work, how useful different virtual youth services were, should the services be local or national, and could they allow their children to spend more time or money in Habbo on account of the youth services provided there.

Some questions covered children's sources of income (e.g. work, relatives, trading with friends, pocket money from parents), attitudes to children spending money on certain things (e.g. clothes, certain products in Habbo, new DVD movie), what did their children spend their money on and what kind of consumers the children were (e.g. impulsive - careful buyers, spendthrift - economical) .

Background variables included the respondent's gender, age, marital status, education, economic activity, education and economic activity of the partner/spouse, annual gross income of the household, number and gender of underage children.

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