Impacts of sensationalised media articles on internet-specific parental self-efficacy
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Informed by research linking high levels of parental self-efficacy to positive parenting practices, and acknowledging scholarly concerns on ‘moral panics’, this paper extends studies on Internet-Specific Parental Self-Efficacy (IS-PSE) in examining whether sensationalised media reporting might contribute to decreases in self-efficacy in the context of parenting in a digital environment. Using a purposive sample of parents of primary school children in Ireland (N = 210), participants were exposed to either a sensationalised or a balanced media article, observing changes in IS-PSE scores. Although to varying extents, the results of this research provide some support for concerns regarding the impact of sensationalised reporting on IS-PSE, with findings identifying those most likely impacted. In doing so, the study also quantifies the positive impact of the provision of balanced information on levels of IS-PSE. Informed by this current study, opportunities for continued research are considered.
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