Online Caregiving in Romanian Transnational Families

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 42 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Viorela DUCU, Babes Bolyai University, Centre for Population Studies, Romania


Identifying transnational family practices is among the most frequent aims of most transnational family studies carried out until the present. The transfer of care among transnational family members is another issue often addressed by research in this field: either the transfer of care of the elderly among adult migrants; of children at home among adult migrants; of migrant children by grandparents at home or of sick family members either at home or abroad.

This paper aims at the specific goal of analyzing the way in which online technology provided through the Internet (Facebook, Skype, Yahoo Messenger etc.) is used by TFs to provide support for family members in need. From the way in which grandparents’ survey online children abroad until parents get back from work, to the way in which the adult child watches online her sick parent while the direct caregiver is away, this research proves how online technology changes from a simple means of communication to an active tool of care in the practices of transnational families.

We also use this research as an occasion for the analysis and perfecting of Skype/Facebook or other forms of online video communication as a medium of gathering dates; we obtained a number of 20 online interviews with transnational family members, some at home, and some abroad.

The use of this method of data collection in the study of TFs seems more than adequate, since in the life of TFs online communication is extremely frequent. Data are analyzed both thematically and narratively with an emphasis on the surplus of information that video recording brings over audio