Digitalization, in the form of ubiquitous media and communication technologies at home, is forcing families with children to face an increasing number of choices regarding how they spend time together. The new combinations of people’s embodied presence and digital worlds are altering family interactions and collective family time in the home, including the socialization of children. This chapter investigates the manifestations of these new ways of being together under the social contract the authors call ‘together individually’. According to this contract, joint social time at home is complemented with ICT and digital content by mutual consent. Using selected instances recorded from videotaped family interactions involving the use of ICT at home, the authors analyse the new ways of spending time together individually and the ways in which children are being socialized according to this contract.
Sanna Tiilikainen and Ilkka Arminen
Anja Riitta Lahikainen and Ilkka Arminen
The role of media in children’s socialization depends on many of the intertwined decision-making factors of parents and children. In this study, families appear to form two groups: the gourmets, which feature the parents regulating their children’s media use by arranging other joint activities with children, and the gourmands, which feature parents who are permissive and encourage children’s technology use and regulate it only loosely. Generally, the authors observe that the regulation of children’s media usage becomes more difficult when children get older. Most conflicts between parents and children were related to the children’s computer/media use and associated disobedience. These conflicts are also evidence of the value of the family, and its ability to resist outside forces. In addition, new opportunities have been opened up thanks to mobile media, since family interaction, both facially and from a distance, is no longer limited to the home. Media and technologies intensify social life, adding new negotiations to family life, but do not threaten its centrality.