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Family relationships and internet abuse in 25 European countries

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The aim of this article is to understand the link between family relationships and internet abuse (IA) using a sample of 18,709 children in 25 European countries. Our results suggest that family relationships are a significant predictor of IA – even when controlling for other significant individual and country-level factors. According to our results, children in two-parent families were less likely to have IA than children in other types of homes, but their advantage seems to derive from having better family dynamics (manifest in more communicative and less autonomous lifestyles) rather than family structure as such. Moreover, the importance of family structure with respect to IA is mediated by children’s relational lifestyles. This suggests that positive parenting characterised by high levels of dialogue may work as a protective factor of IA. We also identified sociodemographic risk factors: IA is more common among older and male children, those with lower levels of self-efficacy, and those living in large cities. The specific components of advantageous relational lifestyles can guide interventions to protect children from IA.
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Keywords: adolescents; family relationships; internet abuse; lifestyles; risk factors

Affiliations: 1: Universidad Austral, Argentina 2: IE University, Spain 3: Harvard University, USA 4: Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Spain 5: The Catholic University of America, USA

Appeared or available online: December 12, 2019

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UA-1313315-21
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