Looking for the pattern that dis/connects

This project will use a trans-disciplinary framework and innovative methods to address existing gaps in research into the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), child development and family communication. A recent European report commenting upon research in the field noted a prevalence of studies based on quantitative methods, and a neglect of focus on mobile, convergent and emerging technologies. It also identified a persistent focus on risks and harm rather than opportunities and benefits and the lack of information on the role of adults, safety mediation and their effectiveness.

The current project fills these gaps using a trans-disciplinary framework of social/developmental psychology and media and communications and two innovative methods: First Person Perspective (FPP) and Digital Ethnography (DE). Specifically, the project aims to: (1) capture the actual practices of adolescents with ICTs; (2) understand how ICTs, family communication and parenting mutually shape each other; (3) explore the opportunities and risks of ICTs for family and child development and parents’ role as safety mediators.

A minimum of ten families with at least one adolescent child (aged 13-16) will be recruited through Italian secondary schools to participate in the research which will involve data gathering via micro cameras (subcams) and video-interviews.

Our innovative methods will provide new knowledge on: parents/adolescents’ individual and interpersonal practices in relation to ICTs; the goals, motives, representations and emotions underlying them and ICTs mediation processes in everyday family life.

The implications of ICTs use for families and children’s health will also be considered. The results will be disseminated to socio-educational and clinical agencies, policy makers, and the general public. Co-supervision will be provided by the School’s Department of Media and Communications who will input theoretical advice and assist with data interpretation.

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