Edited By Carol J. Bruess
7. Adolescent Use of Visual Media in Social Technologies: The Appeal, Risks, and Role of Parental Communication in Shaping Adolescent Behavior
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The Appeal, Risks, and Role of Parental Communication in Shaping Adolescent Behavior
ANNE C. FLETCHERBETHANY L. BLAIR
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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