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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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8. Navigating Emerging Adulthood with Communication Technology

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← 160 | 161 → Navigating Emerging Adulthood with Communication Technology

ELIZABETH DORRANCE HALL

MEGAN K. FEISTER

Purdue University

Introduction

Digital communication technology is changing the landscape of the American family and can make a significant difference in the lives of emerging adults attempting to stay in close contact with their family of origin. Emerging adults experience a multitude of life events in rapid succession, making ages 18 to 25 a life stage for significant identity exploration and formation in the areas of love, career, and development of worldview (Arnett, 2000). The emerging adult life stage is marked by continuous change: moving away from home for college, job, or career; starting higher education and/or finishing formal education; seriously dating; cohabiting; and for some, getting married and having children. Family is an important source of support for emerging adults during this transitional period. Because most families are able to stay in contact with the emerging adults in their network via a variety of media—for example, as of 2010, 84% of families in the United States have Internet access–—opportunities for offering support are numerous (Jennings & Wartella, 2013).

Jennings and Wartella (2013) suggest advancements in technology affect family roles, stages, and transitions. Technology is certainly affecting emerging adults. For example, social networking sites (SNSs) and other new communication technologies influence identity formation—an important aspect of emerging adulthood (Arnett, 2000)—and relationship maintenance (Steinfield, Ellison, & ← 161 | 162...

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