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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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19. Parents’ Use of New Media for Communication about Parenting: A Consideration of Demographic Differences



← 407 | 408 → Parents’ Use of New Media for Communication about Parenting

A Consideration of Demographic Differences


University of Minnesota


Over the past 15 years, use of the Internet and social media has multiplied at a rapid rate. The Pew Internet and American Life Project (2014) reported that, as of September 2013, 86% of American adults were using the Internet. Additionally, in September 2013, 73% of adults reported using online social media, and 42% of adults used multiple social networking websites (SNS) (Duggan & Smith, 2013). Similar to the broad population, parents are increasingly using new media technologies (Allen & Rainie, 2002; Plantin & Daneback, 2009), and their use is diverse (Rothbaum, Martland, & Jannsen, 2008; Walker, Dworkin, & Connell, 2011).

However, parents have different needs for communication using new media than do adults who are not parents. Healthy and effective parenting involves household management and maintenance of interpersonal relationships, and evidence increasingly suggests that new media aids in these efforts. As parenting models inclusive of the social context suggest (e.g., Belsky, 1984), these parenting activities are accomplished through bidirectional relationships with children and other family members and with others who influence the well-being of the children (e.g., teachers). Smith, Cudaback, Goddard, and Myers-Walls (1994) classified parenting ← 408 | 409 → roles as involving activities such as caring for oneself, managing resources (e.g., money, housing, and food), guiding and motivating children, and connecting...

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