Internet Supervision and Parenting in the Digital Age: The Case of Shanghai

Yu Cheung Wong1, Kit Mui Ho1, Honglin Chen2
1 The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
2 Fudan University, Shanghai, China

© 2015 Wong et al

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distributin, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Social Work, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong; Tel: (852)3943-7495; E-mail:


This research paper explored the issue of parenting confidence in internet supervision in Shanghai. It examined the methods used by Shanghai parents in supervising children’s Internet use, the confidence of parents in helping children to benefit from the Internet and protect them from possible threats, and the factors affecting parents’ confidence in their parenting practices. Data were collected from a household survey with a representative sample of 796 low-income families and 799 non-low-income families. Post-stratified weighting was applied to obtain representation of families with children aged 9-17 in Shanghai. Our findings show that Shanghai parents used restriction most frequently in internet supervision. More than one-fifth of parents had limited confidence in helping their children benefit from the Internet and one-eighth in protecting their children from possible Internet threats. Multiple regression models show that better Internet knowledge, an authoritative parenting style, more involvement in children’s online activities and a positive attitude towards the Internet are factors which were associated with higher parenting confidence in internet supervision. Findings suggest that efforts in assisting parents review their attitude towards the Internet and learn new supervision methods are important, especially for parents on the lower socio-economic strata.

Keywords: Internet risks, internet supervision, parent-child relationship, parenting confidence, parenting styles, Shanghai.