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Learning to Be Connected: A Look at Technology-Mediated Social Worlds

Elisa Pigeron

UCLA Sloan Center on Everyday Lives of Families
Working Paper No. 52


Over the last five decades, the emergence of media has revolutionized and impacted irreversibly the lives of families. Media technology is part of a rich interplay of socio-cultural artifacts and practices that make family life complex and formative. Most studies about the effect of technology on families rely on data from survey questionnaires and diaries. A major gap in family media use literature has been the lack of knowledge regarding how families routinely interact with media, and how family relationships are organized by media, from developmental, behavioral, and interactional perspectives.

This paper attempts to fill in the gap by examining patterns of family media use captured on videotapes of naturally occurring family interaction. It also studies, using interviews, parents’ and children’s attitudes towards media use. It begins by establishing a repertoire of media utilized in the home, of social engagements, and of activities characterizing media use. Then it analyzes the various types of socialization practices revolving around media use: ideologies and morality, technical competence, cultural awareness, and connectedness. Through ethnographically-informed discourse analysis, this research aims to shed new light on the complex nature of socialization into and through media practices in the home.

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