UK research team launches “Parenting for a Digital Future” blog for international audience


June 9, 2015

PROJECTS: Preparing for a Digital Future

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Sonia Livingstone, Alicia Blum-Ross and Svenja Ottovordemgentschenfelde from the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science are conducting a multi-year research project on ‘Parenting for a Digital Future’. Alongside their research, they have just launched a blog of the same name to explore and share insights on the task of parenting for a digital future – both in the UK and internationally.

 

Our research on Parenting for a Digital Future is one of two interlinked strands that make up the Preparing for a Digital Future project, funded by the MacArthur Foundation as part of the Connected Learning Research Network (CLRN). Our blog, also called Parenting for a Digital Future, examines the host of linked questions currently absorbing parents and the wider public, as they reflect on and manage their daily lives, as well as policy-makers trying to shape the digital future and social scientists keen to track key trends. We explore questions including:

  • What are parents’ visions of their children’s future and that of the wider society?
  • What risks and opportunities will characterise the digital future?

E. Peacock, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Credit: E. Peacock, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

What’s it all about?

We are currently conducting qualitative research, which inspired the decision to launch this blog. We think there’s need for dialogue and exchange between the public and social science worlds. The public – especially, but not only, parents – face many challenges in relation to children’s changing digital lives. To account for the diversity of concerns, expertise and sources of knowledge, our blog is divided into three content categories: On our minds, From our notes, and Around the world.

  1. 1. On our minds.

We reflect on topical questions and concerns by discussing what’s ‘On our minds’. For example, many parents share worries about what’s in the here-and-now (e.g. should children have their own tablet computer? Are they really learning anything from playing computer games?), while some concerns are more future-oriented (will coding help my children get a good job? Are we losing our privacy in an age of digital surveillance?).

  1. 2. From our notes

At present, we are conducting qualitative interviews with a wide range of parents and children. Some have ‘voted with their feet’, joining digital media or coding clubs. Some prefer to keep digital media for their personal leisure time. Some have special needs and hope that technology will help them connect better with the wider world. Some are worried about the influx of fast-changing digital tools and don’t know what to think. We’ll keep readers up to date with our fieldwork by bringing you reflections in ‘From our notes’ – the blog’s second content category.

Since we have access to a wealth of academic research in the libraries as well as the latest reports, we will also blog some background information. We hope it’s useful if we synthesise the key insights or latest findings on parenting and digital media in our changing society. We are doing that under ‘From our notes’ too.

  1. 3. Around the world

But since we’re sitting in London, and things are changing everywhere in different ways, we invite researchers and commentators from ‘Around the world’ – the blog’s third content category – to add their own experiences, observations and expertise. It’s often hard to see how our lives could be other than what they are. We really hope that collating accounts of diverse ways of living with ‘the digital’ will provoke our readers to think afresh about what we currently take for granted.

Who’s our blog for?

The Parenting for a Digital Future blog is for anyone involved in parenting – by which we include everyone with a responsibility for or interest in children’s welfare, now and in the future, including:

  • Those with a personal responsibility: parents and carers, grandparents or other relatives and mentors.
  • Those with a direct professional responsibility: teachers, informal educators, childcare professionals, clinicians, social workers, etc.
  • Those who advise or have responsibility for supporting parents, whether formally or informally: journalists, parenting experts and advisers, parent bloggers, media regulators, policy-makers.
  • Those with a research interest in parenting, families and digital media: students and academics from diverse disciplines, think tanks and other research bodies

Get involved!

We will post one or more blogs each week, both from our team and from guest bloggers. We would love to hear from you in return.

Contact us (A.Blum-Ross@lse.ac.uk) to tell us what you think, to offer great links or suggested topics, etc. If you are interested in contributing to our blog, our editorial guidelines are here.