Influence of communicating through social media by parents on the behavior of their children: case study of Tala Town, Matungulu Sub-County, Machakos County
Mwanzia, Simon Mutune
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The rising numbers of those who communicate through social media worldwide is of great concern since this may be affecting their other life concerns like minding of their children’s behavior and this prompts the researcher to desire to conduct this study. Social media is an internet-based form of communication, whose platforms allow users to have conversations, share information, and create web content. The purpose of this study was to establish the influence of parental communication through social media on their children’s behavior in Tala town of Matungulu sub-county, Machakos County. The objectives of the study were to find out the prevalence of parents who communicate through social media in the presence of their 2 to 6 years old children in Tala town, Matungulu sub-county in Machakos county; to establish the motivations for communicating through social media by the parents, and to find out the relationship between parental communication through social media and the behavior of their children. The Ecological Systems Theory by Urie Bronfenbrenner (1979) and the Attachment Theory by John Bowlby (1969) and Mary Ainsworth were used to guide the study. The study employed descriptive design. A sample size of 359 parents who had at least one child of 2 to 6 years old and who communicate through social media was considered as study participants. A pilot study was carried out involving 12 participants, simple randomly sampled from a purposively selected pilot study site-Nguluni market- which neighbors Tala town and was similar to it, in both demographics and infrastructure. They were not included in the final study. Questionnaires for parents were designed to collect data. Reliability of the instruments was ensured through split-half method. Spearman’s correlation formula was used to correlate the scores. Content validity was used to measure the instrument through investigating their content with considerations to the study’s objectives. Data collected was analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. Data was organized and analyzed using frequencies and percentages. Tables and bar graphs were utilized in the presentation of the research findings. The results from the research were expected to establish whether communicating through social media by parents in the presence of their children influences the behavior their children. This study found that prevalence of parents in Tala town with 2-6 years old children, who communicate through social media in a typical day was 87.47 per cent; 84.12 percent of the parents frequently use WhatsApp; 57.66 percent of the parents spend on average three or more hours daily communicating through social media; the parents mostly(73.82%) communicate through social media between 5pm-midnight; about 65 percent of the parents communicate through social media for entertainment; and 65.18% of them to maintain relationships. This study recommends that parents ought to spend on average less than one hour daily communicating through social media, in order to reduce children behavior outcomes especially regarding to acting aggressively, seeking for attention, acting emotionally, seeming to be anxious, looking withdrawn, showing other behaviors, and children complaining to be sick; In addition, parents ought to stop communicating through social media between 5pm-midnight, to reduce children’s behavior outcomes of seeking for attention, acting emotionally, and showing other behaviors.
Africa Nazarene University