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Strategies of parenting for
a digital future
Presented to FOSI’s annual conference
Washington DC, 18 November 2015
Sonia L...
Beyond ‘clueless’ parents
Similar trends in Europe
 We asked children directly.
 Only 4 in 10 children say: “I
know more about the
internet than m...
Although….
 Only 1 in 3 children says:
“My parents know a lot
about what I do on he
internet”
 Again younger kids do thi...
So what’s new?
 It’s time to rethink digital
parenting (a generational shift
in the making?)
 And leave behind the defic...
 Parents have to imagine several
decades into the future . . .
 We can read the runes (more
tech, more global, more
inse...
Parenting for a digital future
 In-depth research with 65 diverse families
in and around London, UK
 Participant observa...
‘Geeks’: Family 45
Peter (dad of Evan 17 and Lee 12): I think jobs
for life is long gone, to be honest.
So how do you prep...
“Pushy” parent: Family 22
I have a whiteboard and … this is the, you
know, the entry to secondary school when
they do the ...
Struggles to contain: Family 61
 Natasha (late 40s, recent widow,
Bosnian, professional job), highly
protective of her so...
Digital takeover: Family 56
 First met Josh (12), a self-confessed geek,
at DigiCamp where he was learning Java.
 Dani (...
Parenting practices
 Parents are bringing up their children in
diverse ways in the digital age.
 Their own digital media...
Parenting discourses and values
 The digital signals a step change in how
parents manage the ever more complex
boundaries...
New imaginaries
 Digital media intensify parental hopes,
fears and ambivalences about risks
and opportunities now and for...
Connections and disconnections
 Parents lack collective solidarity or
mutual support, often competitive
with each other, ...
Thanks for listening!
s.livingstone@lse.ac.uk
www.parenting.digital
www.sonialivingstone.net
@Livingstone_S
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FOSI Annual Conference Keynote - Sonia Livingstone

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Latest findings from the Parenting for a Digital Future research project - www.parenting.digital

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FOSI Annual Conference Keynote - Sonia Livingstone

  1. 1. Strategies of parenting for a digital future Presented to FOSI’s annual conference Washington DC, 18 November 2015 Sonia Livingstone www.parenting.digital @Livingstone_S
  2. 2. Beyond ‘clueless’ parents
  3. 3. Similar trends in Europe  We asked children directly.  Only 4 in 10 children say: “I know more about the internet than my parents”  Age matters: younger kids (and girls) are increasingly likely to think their parents know more than they do.  Though teens still say they know more than their parents. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/60513/ 38 58 48 31 10 34 42 40 61 47 30 16 41 39 0 20 40 60 80 100 All 15-16 yrs 13-14 yrs 11-12 yrs 9-10 yrs Girls Boys % Very true 2010 % Very true 2014
  4. 4. Although….  Only 1 in 3 children says: “My parents know a lot about what I do on he internet”  Again younger kids do think their parents know a lot, while teens still guard their privacy  Not much change here in recent years http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/60513/36 24 30 41 51 36 35 34 21 27 40 52 32 36 0 20 40 60 80 100 All 15-16 yrs 13-14 yrs 11-12 yrs 9-10 yrs Girls Boys % A lot 2010 % A lot 2014
  5. 5. So what’s new?  It’s time to rethink digital parenting (a generational shift in the making?)  And leave behind the deficit model of parenting as parents are young enough to have learned digital skills too  So how shall we support digital native parents? as learning partners? And so rebalance the negative focus on rules and restrictions
  6. 6.  Parents have to imagine several decades into the future . . .  We can read the runes (more tech, more global, more insecurity, the intensification of risks and opportunities) but . . .  78% US parents think a child’s technology use has a positive impact on his/her future (FOSI 2015) so what are they doing about it? Parenting is future-oriented
  7. 7. Parenting for a digital future  In-depth research with 65 diverse families in and around London, UK  Participant observation and educator interviews at digital media learning sites (Code Club, Digital Design, App Development)  Interviews and observations with parents and children, mainly at home  Intense, even emotional interviews; with parents talking as soon as we enter  ‘The digital’ - a trigger for anxiety and reflexivity about ‘good enough parenting’.
  8. 8. ‘Geeks’: Family 45 Peter (dad of Evan 17 and Lee 12): I think jobs for life is long gone, to be honest. So how do you prepare children for…? I think what gets you on, if you’re flexible, and you will try your hand at different stuff, and you’re not, oh I can’t do that, I can’t do that. But it’s hard, I mean how do you raise your kids to be flexible and adaptable? Yes, it’s just, don’t be rigid, you know. I think we possibly are to a certain degree, we are reasonably organised, you have to be to be parents, but we’re not rigid, it’s quite free, you know. It’s not Tuesday night, tonight it is steak and kidney pie, you know what I mean.
  9. 9. “Pushy” parent: Family 22 I have a whiteboard and … this is the, you know, the entry to secondary school when they do the non-verbal and verbal reasoning? So I photocopy this … These are the questions … they’ll work it out and they’ll mark their answers and then I’ll mark them after so I’m like a teacher. (Anna, mum of Dionne 10 and Derrick 13) And how come you decided to…? I just want them to have the best and I don’t want them to think that the best is owed to them. I think that they should learn work ethic instead of being given something on a plate without earning it. So I want them to have the tools to do it.
  10. 10. Struggles to contain: Family 61  Natasha (late 40s, recent widow, Bosnian, professional job), highly protective of her son.  Jasper (12), full of enthusiasm about technology, articulate and lively self- taught ‘geek’, who we met learning web development at DigiCamp.  Has a YouTube channel where he posts the ‘intros’ he makes for others, mixing his artistic and geeky sides.  At home, Jasper has two rooms full of computers with design, animation and photography software; he’s a big gamer.  Jasper keen to be interviewed without his mum. Natasha full of anxieties, keen to unburden herself and get support. NATASHA: He's not allowed Twitter. He's not allowed Facebook. I have parental controls so far. . . I don't enjoy any of it pretty much. And I don't understand most of it. But I, sort of, want to understand what it is that he's posting on YouTube. . . But he can get obsessive . . and I feel overwhelmed occasionally. I just think how do I handle this?
  11. 11. Digital takeover: Family 56  First met Josh (12), a self-confessed geek, at DigiCamp where he was learning Java.  Dani (36), separated from her gay-partner (with whom Josh mainly lives), began coding as a child and is now a certified ethical hacker and geek.  Home has four linked computers, lots of high performance kit.  These two share a passion for tech talk – their special language which bonds them tightly and excludes others.  Their talk is slightly unreal – fast and full of interruptions, correcting each other.  Dani’s vision – tech is immersive, collaborative, exciting, the future, it’s coming fast, so keep up or fall behind. DANI: I’m excited about the digital future . . . Yes, I’m really excited. You've got the Microsoft HoloLens stuff that’s coming out with Windows 10; that looks awesome . . . Work's probably going to become a lot more fluid . . . And the kids have to do it for themselves, they, and you’ve got to be responsible for your own career . .
  12. 12. Parenting practices  Parents are bringing up their children in diverse ways in the digital age.  Their own digital media practices influence how they arrange the home and support children’s digital media uses.  If they lack digital confidence, parents are anxious, preferring to be conservative, risk-averse.  But competitive pressures to keep ahead are strong, so many (not just m/c) are seeking ways to give their child a digital advantage.
  13. 13. Parenting discourses and values  The digital signals a step change in how parents manage the ever more complex boundaries of leisure/learning, public/private, child/adult.  Parents worry about being good enough parents and that this means restricting technology rather than enjoying it.  For parents to be effectively engaged in their children’s digital media activities demands not only time and money but also identity commitments (who they are, who their child is).
  14. 14. New imaginaries  Digital media intensify parental hopes, fears and ambivalences about risks and opportunities now and for the future.  So they have developed a host of theories and cost/benefit calculations about technology, learning and pathways to the future.  Parental hopes vary from the safe (I want them to grow up happy), the competitive (they must get ahead) and neoliberal (they must become flexible, skilled, self-driven).
  15. 15. Connections and disconnections  Parents lack collective solidarity or mutual support, often competitive with each other, worried about the critical judgments of others.  Even though they are increasingly digitally skilled, they find it hard to engage with educators, and often do not seek online support.  Must parents remain more spoken about than heard? Can we ‘design in’ better connections to and for parents?
  16. 16. Thanks for listening! s.livingstone@lse.ac.uk www.parenting.digital www.sonialivingstone.net @Livingstone_S

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