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Existential field 8: Media, communication and information technologies in the European family

By Sonia Livingstone and Ranjana Das

Abstract

Media, communication and information technologies in the European family examines the existential field of Family, Media, Family Education and Participation as part of the work programme of the Family Platform project. The Existential Field 8 (EF8) report is written at a time of substantial technological and social change, resulting in a simultaneously diverging and converging media environment, strongly shaped by processes of globalisation and the recent advent of widespread access to the internet and mobile technologies. Structured according to four central themes – the changing place of the media in the European home; digital interactive and mobile technologies; parenting, media, everyday and socialisation; and mediating relations between family and wider society – the review also includes five special focus pieces on diasporic media consumptions, mobile media, new technologies and intimate relationships, digital exclusion and girl culture. Six key trends emerge: 1. New, interactive, individualised and personalised media technologies are rapidly contributing to a diverse media environment in Europe. Across Europe, young people are staying at home for longer periods of time – perhaps appropriately termed an extended adolescence, where bedrooms are heavily mediated. 2. Children’s use of the internet continues to grow. Striking recent rises are evident among younger children (6‐11 years) and in countries that have recently entered the European Union (EU). 3. Education systems across Europe, from school through university, are increasingly reliant on technology‐enhanced classrooms. 4. Health, ageing support and other care and support services are increasingly reliant on new technologies, especially within the home. 5. Media consumption continues to provide moments of togetherness, despite the individualisation exacerbated by new technologies. Television, for instance, shapes a cultural space of commonality for diasporic families and cross‐generational communication. 6. There is an increasingly small difference in internet use between boys and girls in the younger age groups and gender gaps in access to the internet are mostly small and are closing in nearly all countries. Socioeconomic inequalities continue to matter. The review recommends that research in this area needs to better converge family studies literature within sociology and media and communications literature, that more research is needed on a crossnational comparative level, and that little is known for all age groups in the population, especially the media consumption of older people. Also, little research distinguishes or compares ‘youth’ or ‘children’ by age and other sociological variables. Findings across Europe on social class, ethnicity and cultural differences remain scarce in terms of media literacy, education and civic participation and there is little research that takes into account media environments as a whole

Topics: HM Sociology, HQ The family. Marriage. Woman, T Technology (General)
Publisher: Family Platform Project
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lse.ac.uk:29788
Provided by: LSE Research Online

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