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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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16. Social Context Influences on Parenting: A Theoretical Model of the Role of Social Media



← 336 | 337 → Social Context Influences on Parenting

A Theoretical Model of the Role of Social Media


University of Minnesota


Parents’ use of the Internet and social media is now central to their daily problem solving, relationship maintenance, and parenting activities (Dworkin, Connell, & Doty, 2013; Plantin & Daneback, 2009; Takeuchi, 2011; Walker & Rudi, 2014; Wartella, Rideout, Lauricella, & Connell, 2013). While the direct impacts of parents’ use of information and communication technologies (ICT) on their intimate relationships with children or on children’s developmental outcomes are unclear (Hertlein, 2012), research strongly points to the role ICT play as a resource of support and influence to parents by connecting individuals and enabling parents access to information. Professionals now employ and design new social and informational technologies to promote parent learning, family engagement, and to build parents’ connections (Hughes, Bowers, Mitchell, Curtiss, & Ebata, 2012).

As we advance ICT research in service to families, our explorations need to be grounded within theoretical frameworks that guide our understanding of new media’s influence. Systems models related to ICT impacts on family life functioning in general (Lanigan, 2009) and family relationships specifically (Hertlein, 2012) have been offered, each articulating family structures and processes influenced by unique characteristics of new technologies and highlighting individual differences in use. To date, however, a model specific to technology use by parents ← 337 | 338 → and impacts on childrearing is absent. Given...

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