The use of the internet in homes rivals the advent of the telephone, radio, or television in social significance. Daily use of the World Wide Web and e-mail is taken for granted in many families, and the computer-linked internet is becoming an integral part of the physical and audiovisual environment. The internet's features of personalization, interactivity, and information abundance raise profound new issues for parents and children. Most researchers studying the impact of the internet on families begin with the assumption that the family is the central influence in preparing a child to live in society and that home is where that influence takes place.
In The Wired Homestead, communication theorists and social scientists offer recent findings on the effects of the internet on the lives of the family unit and its members. The book examines historical precedents of parental concern over "new" media such as television. It then looks at specific issues surrounding parental oversight of internet use, such as rules about revealing personal information, time limits, and web site restrictions. It looks at the effects of the web on both domestic life and entire neighborhoods. The wealth of information offered and the formulation of emerging issues regarding parents and children lay the foundation for further research in this developing field. The contributors include Robert Kraut, Jorge Reina Schement, Ellen Seiter, Sherry Turkle, Ellen Wartella, and Barry Wellman.