Just out: Article on digital media & parenting in disadvantaged families

Lynn Schofield Clark. 2009. Digital Media and the Generation Gap. Information, Communication, and Society 12(3): 388-407.


In many parts of the developed world, families engage with a wide range of communication media as a part of their daily lives. Parents often express mixed feelings about this engagement on the part of young people, however. Employing Baumberg’s narrative-in-interaction analysis to interviews with 55 parents and 125 young people, this article explores both the discursive strategies parents employ when discussing their rules and regulations regarding digital technologies, and the strategies employed by their teenage young people in response. It considers how parents attempt to articulate authority in relation to digital media use among their teenage children, and how the ways in which teens interpret those parental attempts to express authority influence the strategies they themselves embrace regarding digital media. The article argues that although economically disadvantaged families experience the digital generation gap with particular intensity, their strategies reveal that they and their teenage children are able to deal with these challenges in creative and effective ways.

Keywords: Young people; sociology; digital divide; domestication of ICTs; parents; qualitative research


About Lynn Schofield Clark

I'm an author and media professor who researches and writes about how digital and mobile media are changing the lives of diverse U.S. young people and their families. Regina Marchi and I have recently coauthored Young People and the Future of News: Social Media and the Rise of Connective Journalism for Cambridge University Press (2017). It's about how the definitions of news are changing as young people use social media in their relationships with (and sometimes in advocacy for) their communities of concern (their neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, etc.). My earlier books are Parenting in a Digital Age, published by Oxford University Press in 2013; From Angels to Aliens: Teenagers, the Media, and the Supernatural, published by Oxford University Press in 2005; and Media, Home and Family, co-authored with Diane Alters, Stewart Hoover, Joseph Champ, and Lee Hood, published by Routledge in 2004.
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