New study: Digital security in families

4 Dec 2020

Lenka Dědková and David Šmahel from IRTIS, together with Mike Just from Heriot-Watt University, published a new study in the journal Behaviour & Information Technology. The study examines which sources of information about digital security parents rely on and how these preferences relate to their internet mediation practices and internet skills.


Home users of information and communication technologies are often the target of online attacks. At the same time they tend to lack the knowledge and skills to effectively protect themselves. Families with children are in a particularly difficult position since parents are responsible not only for their own digital safety, but of their children’s too. This study focuses on the sources of digital security information used by parents. The aim of this study was to determine the factors that are associated with parents’ preferences for digital security information. To achieve this aim, we conducted an online survey of 331 Czech parents and examined the patterns of sources used for digital security information using latent class analysis. This analysis identified four groups of parents:

(1) those relying predominantly on the internet in general
(2) those using specialised sources (expert websites and professionals),
(3) those utilising a wide spectrum of sources, including internet, television, and friends and family
(4) those who predominantly gain information from their partners, and partially from specialists.

The study also shows that the preferences of specific sources are connected to parental mediation practices and both parents’ internet skills.

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