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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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3. Global Families in a Digital Age



← 54 | 55 → Global Families in a Digital Age


University of St. Thomas, Minnesota

AUTHOR NOTE: I thank Changhyuk Byun, Morten Ender, Lea Hagoel, Brandon Haugrud, Michael Murphy, Shady Shalik, and Alexander Tsadwa for sharing their personal experiences and professional insights on digital connections with their own global families. Thanks also to Mark Karraker, P. E., who researched the data from the United Nations International Telecommunications Union. Correspondence concerning this chapter should be addressed to Meg Wilkes Karraker, University of St. Thomas, 2115 Summit Avenue, Mail #4048, St. Paul, MN 55105–1095, U.S.A. Contact:


If the global mass media are “a driving force behind transnational life plans” (BeckGernsheim, 2001, p. 62), then information communication technology (ICT) is a driving force on steroids! As editor Carol Bruess stated in her call for the chapters in this volume, mobile cellular telephones, Facebook and its spinoffs, the Internet, online chat rooms, text messaging, and other ICTs are increasingly “affecting family systems and interactions over the life span.” Families increasingly use ICTs to negotiate the full range of family functions across life cycle stages and subsystems, while extending in revolutionary ways the very ecology of their families.

← 55 | 56 → This chapter examines the ways transnational families use information communication technologies to communicate, thereby accomplishing family functions and stretching family subsystems across national borders. Throughout this chapter, members of transnational families offer their own accounts...

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