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Family Communication in the Age of Digital and Social Media


Edited By Carol J. Bruess

Family Communication in the Age of Digital and Social Media is an innovative collection of contemporary data-driven research and theorizing about how digital and social media are affecting and changing nearly every aspect of family interaction over the lifespan. The research and thinking featured in the book reflects the intense growth of interest in families in the digital age. Chapters explore communication among couples, families, parents, adolescents, and emerging adults as their realities are created, impacted, changed, structured, improved, influenced and/or inhibited by cell phones, smartphones, personal desktop and laptop computers, MP3 players, e-tablets, e-readers, email, Facebook, photo sharing, Skype, Twitter, SnapChat, blogs, Instagram, and other emerging technologies. Each chapter significantly advances thinking about how digital media have become deeply embedded in the lives of families and couples, as well as how they are affecting the very ways we as twenty-first-century communicators see ourselves and, by extension, conceive of and behave in our most intimate and longest-lasting relationships.
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2. Privacy Management Matters in Digital Family Communication



← 31 | 32 → Privacy Management Matters in Digital Family Communication


Kent State University


Indiana University-Purdue University


Over the last decade, social media and interactive communication technologies have had a dramatic impact on the way family members interact with one another, creating a number of challenges (Padilla-Walker, Coyne, & Fraser, 2012). Privacy management, in particular, is a main concern for parents and children (Petronio, 2010). The way family members manage their privacy online amid so many possible ways to use interactive communication technology is often confusing and can lead to privacy turbulence and ultimately privacy breakdowns (Child, Haridakis, & Petronio, 2012; Petronio, 2010). Given the newness of these communication options, families have had to develop unique sets of privacy rules for the way members regulate the flow of personal and family information online (Child & Westermann, 2013).

Families manage privacy among family members in many ways, but the ones that prove most difficult are the ways parents regulate children’s choices about managing private information online—information both about themselves and other family members. For example, a mom writes about purchasing a smart-phone for her young teenage son (Italie, 2013): It is the first time he has had a smartphone, and his mom is concerned about the disclosure choices he might ← 32 | 33 → make online. She is not sure what her son might think is acceptable to tell others about...

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