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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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20. Digital Generation Differences in Parent–Adolescent Relationships

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← 425 | 426 → Digital Generation Differences in Parent–Adolescent Relationships

J. MITCHELL VATERLAUS

Montana State University

SARAH TULANE

Utah State University

Introduction

Generation gaps are presumed differences between adolescents and their parents in terms of values and attitudes. Generation gaps between parents and adolescents received copious research attention during the 1960s and 1970s (Smith, 2000). The 1950s were marked by general adolescent conformity, whereas the 1960s and 1970s saw movement away from rigid societal roles (Falk & Falk, 2005; Vaterlaus, 2012). Generation gap research emerged during a period of social change (e.g., legalization of the contraceptive pill, more liberal political views, ongoing war and military draft, illicit drug use; Falk & Falk, 2005; Maga, 2003). With the onset of these dramatic social changes, many believed dramatic differences in parent and adolescent attitudes and values also emerged during this period. However, generation gap research indicated the presence of only small or insignificant gaps when investigating actual gaps (i.e., comparing adolescent beliefs with parent’s beliefs; Jacobsen, Berry, & Olsen, 1975). When researchers then examined perceived gaps (i.e., what adolescents think their parents believe compared to what adolescents believe) noted differences emerged (Acock & Bengtson, 1980).

As communication technologies have changed, research has attempted to document societal changes in how people interact, spend time, and find entertainment (Jones, 2009; Vaterlaus, 2012). Technology is no longer limited to ← 426 | 427 → noninteractive media (e.g., television or movies); rather, opportunities...

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