Space, body, and mind: Parental perceptions of children's privacy needs

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This research explores parents' perceptions of the privacy needs and behaviors of their preschool-age children. The literature suggests that children require some degree of choice over interaction with others to create a sense of autonomy. Research into children's privacy focuses on spatial control as the primary method of achieving privacy. A model is constructed based on Laufer and Wolfe's multidimensional approach. Interviews with parents reveal the complexity involved in everyday decisions regarding children's privacy. Results indicate that parents do not perceive privacy as important for young children and more likely see them as invaders of others' privacy. Parents are partially aware of the influence of age and gender on children's privacy needs. Respondents perceived their children's privacy needs in spatial terms, less often recognized the need for body privacy, and rarely valued mental privacy for their children. Also, parents view their children's motivations for seeking privacy in primarily negative terms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-100
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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