From empty nest to Social Networking Site: What happens in cyberspace when children are launched from the parental home?

Martin Tanis, M. van der Louw, M. Buijzen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

With the present study we explore the popular assumption that parents become more active in their child-related Social Networking Site (SNS) use when the child leaves the parental home. Moreover, we aim to investigate whether parental empty nest feelings predict their child-related SNS use to stay in contact with children living outside the parental home, controlling for a variety of other possible predictors (e.g., family, parent, and child characteristics). We conducted an online survey among an MTurk sample of N = 758 US parents of children who were either expected to move out of the parental home shortly or had moved out recently. Results showed that child-related SNS use increased in the period when the child was leaving the parental home. Over the subsequent two years, SNS use decreased gradually, to eventually reach a level similar to that of six months before the child's launch. In addition, multiple regression analyses revealed a significant association between empty nest feelings and child-related SNS use over and above general social media activities of parents, and while controlling for other possible predictors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-63
Number of pages8
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume68
Issue numberMarch
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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