12557 ED: Parenting in the Digital Age: How Parents Address Equity Through Discourses, Practices and Imaginaries

06/12/2015 @ 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
The Orpheum A

Organizer: Daniela DiGiacomo
Presenters: Alicia Blum-Ross, Melissa Brough, Andres Lombana-Bermudez, Lisa Schwartz, Daniela DiGiacomo

Enabling physical access to digital resources is frequently the subject of policy interventions. However, research has demonstrated that in order to address inequity we need to better understand how young people are (or are not) supported to engage with digital media by parents and other adults who care and take responsibility for them at school, in interest-driven environments, and at home. This panel focuses specifically on the role of parents and guardians, contributing to a relatively small body of academic work on the ways in which families’ support for young people helps bridge opportunity gaps. We explore the ways in which parents and children imagine and negotiate the opportunities and potential risks embedded in digital media practices. We focus on three dimensions of parenting in a digital age: how parents are influenced by discourses about digital media and learning circulating at the level of policy, through popular media, and in their local community; understanding parents’ imaginaries around digital media in relationship to their hopes and fears for their children in the present and the future; and how these discourses and imaginaries compare with the actual practices of parenting in a varyingly digital world.

Presenting both recently completed and ongoing ethnographic research from sites in the US and UK, this panel illustrates a range of forms of engagement with digital media among both creative class and nondominant families. In Texas, for example, we worked with a group of first and second generation Latino teens, mapped their home media environments, and analyzed how immigrant families negotiated individual and communal digital media practices as part of their process of assimilation. In Colorado, we documented the interplay between expertise and interest of mothers in relation to their youth’s practices. We also found a range of ‘ingenuity’ (including ‘fixing, making, resourcefulness, and tinkering’) in the daily routines and new media practices of families from nondominant communities. In Los Angeles, we are studying how parents support their children to become connected learners — youth who pursue a personal interest that connects to their academic, professional, or civic development — in contexts where digital participation remains highly constrained. Through a series of diverse case studies in London, including parent bloggers, immigrant families and families with disabled children, we are exploring how parents integrate digital media into their visions of their children’s future and what they see as perilous, or opportune.

Through five short presentations highlighting current work being undertaken by the Connected Learning Research Network, this panel will share and synthesize recent findings to critically address issues of equity and access, with particular attention to how the discourses, imaginaries and practices of parenting with and around digital media play a role in fostering familial well-being. Drawing from our multidisciplinary and multi-sited perspectives, we highlight best practices as well as practices that reveal tensions and areas for growth and support, in order to inform future work in the field of digital media and learning.

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