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Parental Filters on the Internet sample essay

Technology, often defined as the application of science, was basically the crafts practiced by unschooled artisans (McClellan, 2006). Technologies had tangibly affected the people’s way of living, since these are made to improve their quality of life. Its existence was completely evident on how our ancestors developed simple choppers into fine blades, and later on, discovered the utilization of fire. One of the present discoveries was the Internet, which gradually diminished the barrier between communications. It served as a gateway of people all over the globe into the social scene. As perceived by Gralla (1998), Internet is the purest form of electronic democracy—where no single person, group or organization runs the Internet. It was made possible through computers interconnected with each other, sharing common information. These computers range from personal to government-owned databases, both local and international, to academic and business-oriented computers.

A telephone, a modem, and a computer of course, are needed in able to connect to the Internet. Once you are connected to the Internet, your computer becomes an extension: another linkage on the Internet. Though the Internet was first used as a defense project of the United States, the Internet had evolved into being the newest kind of media. And eventually, it was used in schools, workplaces and businesses as well. It was able to help students in their home works, or catch up with the lessons they missed, and everybody’s favorite—social networking. As for professionals, the Internet enabled them to conduct video conferences, giving people who aren’t able to attend a certain meeting at ease. The Internet helped entrepreneurs as well, in finding the best products the community wants today, as well as providing on-line service with its customers.

However, despite of all these good application of Internet, we cannot deny the fact that there are people who upload gore, violence and other explicit content. Though every information shared over the Internet has its own target audiences, parents should be literate enough to regulate and filter information their children are about to view. Parents, in the first place, are the one who thought their children to speak and communicate. Internet is the one that thought students to communicate and explore beyond extent. But parents are parents; they own their child and internet doesn’t. Internet can change someone but their parents can still control them.

But still, as members of the society, we have to be responsible of what we access on the Internet, concerning especially the children. Kids these days spend more time on the Internet as much as our age does, which is very alarming, since this triggers children in accessing restricted material. Even social networking sites are surrounded with pedophiles and sexual predators, waiting for its prey to be devoured. Assuming that majority of the respondents control and filter their children’s use of the Internet, this study seeks to answer the forms of mechanisms utilized by every parent in a particular household, and its significance to child protection.

Background of the Study

As what Anne Frank stated, “Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” In this quote, it is evident that parents are meant to support their children in forming their personalities in any aspect of his life. In the Philippine context, it is believed that if a person possesses good traits, it was because he was raised by his parents well. A parent may vary from another parent in raising a child, but the main point in here is that, every single parent shapes their children in the way they wanted them to be. Diana Baumrind, a clinical psychologist, conducted a research study in 1960’s on the linkages of parenting styles, and its effects on 100 preschool-aged children. Using naturalistic observation, parental interviews and other research methods, she had identified four important dimensions of parenting (Cherry, 2011) namely: Authoritarian Parenting, Authoritative Parenting, Permissive Parenting and lastly, Uninvolved Parenting. Among the four parenting styles Baumrind had identified, Authoritarian Parenting has high regards of their children, as well as their expectations.

When these expectations aren’t met, punishment is likely to be followed. Children raised this way tend to be more furious outdoors, or lack self-esteem. Contrary to that, Authoritative Parenting still has its own rules to follow, but the difference is that, no punishment is inflicted, and thus nurtured instead. While Permissive Parenting practices no disciplinary actions at all, thus creating an environment filled with love. However, children raised this way, more often than not, are stubborn in nature. Uninvolved Parenting means no parenting at all, meaning they do not support them through their endeavors, but strictly comply with their needs. Children have the tendency to be more anxious than the usual, and exhibit more delinquency or drug abuse. (Cherry, 2011) In relation to our study, parenting plays the vital role in shaping their children, not only in their behaviors, but also within the context of Internet dilemmas.

Indeed, the Internet can be both good and bad in general. It can help children in doing their researches and improve their knowledge within a particular lesson, but at the same time, there will be a tendency that they will depend too much on what Internet has to offer—which is unhealthy, since not all information shared over the internet are true and reliable. It can reconnect their long lost friends, and discover new friends through social networking, but it could also expose them to the danger of meeting strange new people online. Since the Internet has a wide array of information, it can satisfy one’s curiosity regarding a certain topic, but into what extent? Internet, in this modern day, serves as a key or a portal through everything that this world has. People recognize its use in a good and bad way. In a recent study conducted by Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication from February to April year 2009, it showed that 74% have access to the Internet.

Most of the respondents came from Visayas and Metro Manila. The respondents include grade school pupils 10-12 old, and high school students 13-17 old. The children in both subgroups basically use the Internet for email, connecting with friends, participating in e-groups and social networks. Though these types of activities are considered ‘safe’, it is actually not. Cyber-bullying has been rampant in the airwaves, as well as pornography and other explicit content. Pornography can be generally defined as erotic depictions intended to provoke a sexual response (Casanova, 2000). It can exist in many forms, including videos, films, stills, and even comics. High school students are definitely aware of this at a young age, it is because their minds are preoccupied with curiosity thus, filling their satisfaction to know and explore through the world of internet. However, with proper guidance and regulation of parents on how their children utilize the Internet, we can still shape these children the way they should be. To keep them safe from the detrimental effects Internet has to bring upon.

Be it physically, mentally, socially, sexually, psychologically or even spiritually. Media, especially social media, has gradually changed the youth’s social and emotional cognition to its environment. How a child interacts with the people around him is greatly affected with his exposure with the media (Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication, 2010). In a study conducted by Kraut (1998), the social effect of the Internet is a bit similar with television, but greater use of the Internet is statistically significant into declining of social involvement. It greatly affects the social circle he belongs to, his social contact, and social communication.

Another is that, Liwag (2007) stated that Internet has the capacity to erode authority structures. This means that children might be accepting parental authority. Getting into the physical context, children that are more exposed to Internet use, had a great impact on their lifestyles. Children sleep well beforehand, but since they got hooked with the Internet, their daily routine had tangibly changed. Liwag (2007) explained that many adolescents are into health-compromising habits and sedentary lifestyle. (Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication, 2010) With the cases mentioned above, we, the researchers remain persistent in knowing what Filipino parents do, and have to do in order to diminish these cases for them not to experience.

Theoretical Framework

The study being proposed will adapt two mass communication theories. The first one is the Elaboration Likelihood by created by Richard E Petty and John T Cacioppo and the second one is the Social Judgment Theory that was developed by Muzafer Sherif and Carl Hovland.

Elaboration Likelihood

A popular model used as a principle in persuasion work is the Elaboration Likelihood Model created by Richard E Petty and John T Cacioppo. The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) states that there are two routes through which persuasive messages are processed: the central route and the peripheral route. Developed in 1980, this relatively new persuasion model attempts to “explain how a persuasive message works to change the attitude of the receiver” (Moore, 2001). Central and peripheral routes: both are effective styles of persuasion techniques, but each one has strategies and guiding principles to make it more effective. Understanding the two routes of persuasion discussed in the Elaboration Likelihood Model is vital to the persuasion process.

Messages sent via the central route of persuasion must be straight-forward and complete. The central route consists of “thoughtful consideration of the arguments (ideas, content) in the message” (Benoit et al., 2001). The receiver carefully scrutinizes the message and evaluates the subject matter of the idea. Messages sent through this route must possess a high level of receiver involvement, that is, the receiver must actually care about and be related to the subject. Because it is of importance to them, the message will be evaluated thoroughly. Central route messages must be strong. The message is going to be dissected and analyzed from every angle, so it had better have some substance to it.

The peripheral route of persuasion is successful for messages with low receiver involvement, low receiver motivation, and weak messages. Unlike the central route persuasion, messages sent via the peripheral route are not processed cognitively. Rather, the peripheral route states that “if a person is unable to elaborate on a message extensively, then she may still be persuaded by factors that have nothing to do with the actual content of the message itself” (Moore, 2001). According to Professors Dean Kruckeberg and Ken Starck, “the dominant public view of public relations, in fact, is one of persuasive communication actions…” (Wilcox et al., 2003, p.214).

It is suggested that attitudes formed under high elaboration, the central route, are stronger than those formed under low elaboration. This means that this level of persuasion is stable over time and is less susceptible to decay or any type of counter-persuasion. Attitudes formed under low elaboration, the peripheral route, are more likely to cause a short term attitude change. The ELM is based on the idea that attitudes are important because attitudes guide decisions and other behaviors. While attitudes can result from a number of things, persuasion is a primary source.


Social Judgment Theory

This theory of attitude change was developed by Muzafer Sherif and Carl Hovland and later by Carolyn Sherif. As its name suggests, it is a model of judgment, which means that it declares that the audience interprets (judges) a message. Specifically, a listener judges how much the message agrees or disagrees with his or her own attitude. Second, Social Judgment theory holds that a listener’s involvement in the topic of the persuasive message – that is, how important a topic is to a listener – is an important factor in attitude change.

Given a range of possible positions about given subject, people may have a range of opinions, but will have an anchor position. As this is often tied to people’s sense of identity, it is seldom possible to change it. The latitude of acceptance are those positions which are acceptable. The latitude of non-commitment are those positions which are neither accepted nor rejected. The latitude of rejection are positions which will be actively opposed.

We can observe that one person can think a summer day is hot while another believes it is only pleasantly warm. Two friends can see the same movie and one will like it and the other will hate it. And two people can hear the same persuasive message but have quite different reactions to it. Social Judgment theory explains how two people can react so differently to the very same message.

The reason why people gave different answers is that they had different comparison points or anchors and also because of their ego involvement. Each listener or reader judges the main idea of the message, how much it agrees or disagrees with him or her, by comparing the message with his or her anchor point, which in Social Judgment theory is his or her existing attitude on the message topic. Model:

Conceptual Framework

Elaboration Likelihood

The researchers formulated a model of dual routes of persuasion to explain the situation being studied. The illustration shows the how, the what, and the predicted outcome of parents’ response to control their children’s internet access.

The model will start from message that will be coming from the parents. Then the message will proceed to the audience factor—which is the children. There are two possibilities from which the message might flow. There will be a possibility of having high motivation and ability to think of the message or possess low motivation and ability to think of the message. In that process, it will show the parents to think of the control mechanism they will be using whether it could be a high or a low factor. Then the third process will be the processing approach which will show the style of approach the parents can be used. The last part of the process would be the persuasion outcome.

Through that process we can infer if the outcome the parents had executed to control their children’s access had been a persuasive message in changing the children’s access to internet. In that case, the parents are expected to research and apply these mechanisms in controlling their children’s internet access. Eventually, there will be an element of dissatisfaction that will trigger their train of thought to try all of control mechanisms if possible. Each control mechanism has its own style that could or could not be persuasive or effective. Just like in the adopted theory of Elaboration Likelihood, that there are two techniques of persuasion and both of it are effective styles, but each one has strategies and guiding principles to make it more effective. Understanding the two routes of persuasion discussed in the Elaboration Likelihood Model is vital to the persuasion process.

Conceptual Model:

Social Judgment

The Social Judgment theory in this study will focus on the children’s response or their involvement in the control mechanisms of their parents. Whether they will accept it, reject it or there is no potential commitment.

As the conceptual model illustrates, it will start to the parent’s control mechanism. Afterwards, children will assess it depending on their level of ego-involvement and on their own anchor points. Lastly, it is their choice if they will accept it, reject it or just don’t commit at it. Not all children will have the same involvement because of their different attitudes or their ego involvement and anchor points.

Conceptual Model:

Statement of the Problem

What are the mechanisms utilized by parents in controlling their children’s access to the internet and its significance to child protection?

Objectives of the Study
1. To present the profile of the respondents in terms of:
a. Demographic
b. Economic
2. To know the different Internet sites that children usually view. 3. To identify the different control mechanisms used by parents in controlling their children’s internet access. 4. To determine the factors affecting the parents to control children’s access in the internet. 5. To determine if controlling children’s Internet usage will change their behavior towards Internet. Significance of the Study:

To Parents and Teachers Association (PTA)

With the collaboration of parents and teachers, this study would help them discuss with each other the action they should do if ever they will make a project plan regarding internet and children. They could be able to make different programs and seminars of how to handle their children and what to do in order to control children’s internet access.

To the parents

In accordance to the result of this study, parents will become attentive of what tends their children to visit such sites. If that happens, they could determine and counter-attack those factors with the proper and effective way of controlling their children’s internet access. They could also change their old mechanism in filtering their child’s internet use at least to refrain their child’s exposure on restricted sites. To the teachers

Since teachers are correlated and influential with the shaping of the knowledge of students, with this study, they could serve as a bridge on the proper way of introducing internet world as an educational tool especially computer teachers. They should explain to students the main purpose of internet, the proper attitude towards internet access—their limitations, do’s and don’ts, To children, to students

With the result of the study, children are hoped to see internet as a purposeful and educational one. They would gradually decrease their access on the internet abusively especially restricted sites. And to be able to understand that there is always a right time for everything. To the researchers and future researchers

With the instrumentation, recommendations, conclusions and the study as whole, future researchers wanting to pursue a study like this would be a big help in producing another research or study in line with the topic. Their study could be an action towards the guidelines on filtering internet. Hypotheses:

With the study, the following hypotheses are used:

1. With the objectives of the study, researchers expect the following: a. Parents in the lower class family are those who aren’t knowledgeable about the internet b. Parents in the middle class family are those who quite knowledgeable about internet c. Parents who are in the higher class family are those who are more knowledgeable about the internet. 2. The following sites are what children’s usually visit on the internet (in random order): Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube and Multiply d. Online games e. Restricted and malicious sites f. Sites for educational purposes such as ebooks, forums, online classrooms

3. Parents usually control their children’s internet access with the set of rules and regulations given on them such as time limitations, reminding them the proper use of internet, securing their child by filtering the internet etc. 4. Bad effects children affecting their scholastic records, children’s nasty view of real world, effects of unwanted websites inappropriate of children’s age such as pornographic sites, print and broadcast media and hearsays of internet’s harm to children are the factors affecting parents to control children’s access on the internet. 5. Children become more at ease, curious and the more they are controlled, the more they are spending long duration of time on their use of internet.

Limitations of the Study

This study entitled, “PARENTAL FILTERS ON THE INTERNET: THE MECHANISMS UTILIZED BY PARENTS IN CONTROLLING THEIR CHILDREN’S ACCESS TO INTERNET”, concentrates on the practices, tools or guidelines used by parents in controlling and protecting their children with the potential harms that internet contains. This study focuses only in Manila, in which the researchers systematically selected four High Schools from the locality. The schools, those researchers had chosen, are Malate High School, St. Anthony School, Dona Teodora Alonzo High School, and Villamor High School. The parents will be the main respondents of the study, coming from the Parents and Teachers Association or PTA in the selected schools respectively.

The researchers are limited to take 100 respondents from all the parents in those selected four schools. These 100 respondents will be coming from the PTA members. Due to lack of resources, we would trim down the number of the PTA population to 100. The age bracket of students in the chosen high schools is roughly from twelve years old to sixteen years old. These students are the source where we can gather information from the parent. Considering these students have basic knowledge on computer and browsing internet—same goes with parents. This research study is only limited on the students, as it should, who use computer and access internet. This entails the effects getting or absorbing by the students, whether it’s good or bad. The bad effects of internet to students can be in physical and in mental condition.

Operational Definition

This part contains words with corresponding definition used by the researchers throughout their understanding and limitation. This serves as the researchers’ own dictionary only in important and primary terms. This also serves as the guiding tool to better understanding to this study.


Students refer to the students who are enrolled and studying on the systematically selected four schools in Manila. These are the students who have, at least, basic knowledge in using computer and accessing and browsing the internet.

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