The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age

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OUP USA, 2013 - Computers - 299 pages
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New technologies offer new ways for families to connect, access ideas and entertainment, and manage the risks faced by children and teens, but they also bring more responsibilities, choices, and challenges. Texting, sexting, Net Nannies, Facebook, mobile phones with GPS, and cyberbullying allcreate everyday conflicts parents and children must manage while balancing questions of authority and autonomy, and trust and risk. Just how are digital, mobile, and more traditional media changing family life today? Drawing on over ten years of observations and interviews with families, The Parent App analyzes why digital and mobile media play such a large role in the lives of children, what most concerns parents, and what approaches to new technologies prove most successful for both parents and kids. LynnClark argues that middle class and lower income parents have markedly different experiences with digital and mobile technologies in their children's lives, especially during the preteen and teen years. Middle class parents incorporate new technology into what has been called their "concertedcultivation" style of parenting by utilizing the control and monitoring systems available to them, while also limiting the amount of time and type of activities their children may spend with technology. The "natural growth" approach to parenting typically observed in lower-income families meansparents trust their kids to know right from wrong, but the mediated environment complicates this trust. For one, parents know far less about the latest technology than their children, yet they consciously use media to keep children in the home and avoid risks outside it. They often associate mediawith leisure time and staying connected, rather than with work or school as middle class families do. In contrast to middle class families who feel they should do something better with their time than watching television together, less advantaged families value the time together, and view televisionand gaming with less ambivalence.Whatever the parenting style or economic bracket, parents experience anxiety about how to manage new technology, especially how to assert authority while respecting the wishes of young people. Clark's book provides the kind of guidance backed by thorough research that today's parents desperatelyneed.

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The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age

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Media critic Clark (dir., Estlow International Ctr. for Journalism & New Media, Univ. of Denver; From Angels to Aliens) suggests ways to enable parents to negotiate their children's engagement with ... Read full review


Digital Media and Youth
Digital and Mobile Media and Family Communication
Parents Children and the Media Landscape Resources
Family Digital and Mobile Media Agreement

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About the author (2013)

Lynn Schofield Clark is Associate Professor in Media, Film, and Journalism Studies, and Director of the Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media at the University of Denver. Her books include Religion, Media, and the Marketplace (Rutgers University Press, 2007); From Angels to Aliens (Oxford University Press, 2005), and with Stewart M. Hoover, Practicing Religion in the Age of the Media (Columbia University Press, 2002).

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