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Family Communication in the Age of Digital and Social Media

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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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5. Exploring the Interaction of Media Richness and Family Characteristics in Computer-Mediated Communication

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← 98 | 99 → Exploring the Interaction of Media Richness and Family Characteristics in Computer-Mediated Communication

EMILY M. CRAMER

North Central College

EDWARD A. MABRY

University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Introduction

In 2008, the Pew Internet and American Life Project published Networked Families, a comprehensive report on the use of technology within families in the United States (Kennedy, Smith, Wells, & Wellman, 2008). Using a sample of adults aged 18 and older (N = 2,252), the project concluded, “Technology now permeates American households and has become a central feature of families’ day-today lives” (p. i). Of married couples with children, 95% of households have cell phones, 93% have computers, and 94% report at least one family member going online. Sixty-six percent of married-with-children households have a broadband connection, and 58% own two or more desktop/laptop computers. Moreover, 65% of households contain a husband, wife, and child who go online.

Families’ ever-increasing use and reliance on computers, the Internet, and cell phones are remarkable, especially in light of concerns that technology would pull the family apart (Kennedy et al., 2008). On the contrary, adults surveyed by Pew felt computer-mediated communication (CMC) helped them stay closer to friends and family. These findings support extant research on the influence of information and communication technologies on social relationships (Boase, Horrigan, Wellman, & Rainie, 2006; Wajcman, Bittman, & Brown, 2008). Using data from a 2000 Pew study, Chesley and Fox (2012)...

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