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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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7. Adolescent Use of Visual Media in Social Technologies: The Appeal, Risks, and Role of Parental Communication in Shaping Adolescent Behavior



← 140 | 141 → Adolescent Use of Visual Media in Social Technologies

The Appeal, Risks, and Role of Parental Communication in Shaping Adolescent Behavior


The University of North Carolina at Greensboro


”Social technology"—technological devices and programs used for communicating with and maintaining connections to others—is a defining feature of the contemporary family experience, particularly among adolescents (Pfeil, Arjan, & Zaphiris, 2009). These technologies have introduced new relational and communication opportunities, as well as challenges, for parents of adolescents. As adolescents explore new ways of engaging with social technology, parents must try to understand these new ways of interacting, as well as their potential repercussions. One challenge for parents is children’s use of “visual media” in communication: viewing, sharing, or interacting via digital photographs or video clips. Visual media is increasingly available in social technology, and young people have adopted it as a means for identity construction and self-presentation (Hum, Chamberlin, Hambright, Portwood, Schat, & Bevan, 2011; Zhao, Grasmuck, & Martin, 2008) and for establishing and maintaining intimacy with friends (Hsu, Wang, & Tai, 2011). Parents of adolescents in the digital age must navigate the complexities of social technology and develop strategies and rules for clear communication and healthy use. In this chapter we examine parental communication with their adolescent children regarding the use of visual media in social technology, as well as how such communication is linked with adolescent thoughts and...

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