Parenting and Children's Videogaming Experience (the сase of St.-Petersburg, Russia)

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Ekaterina OREKH, St.Petersburg state University, Russia
Elena BOGOMIAGKOVA, Saint Petersburg University, Russian Federation
The research is focused on an analysis of contemporary St. Petersburg urban practices related to children’s computer gaming. We analyze the strategies used by parents in their actions in relation towards children computer gaming. We also aim at uncovering the background assumptions about the world we live in, children, parents, childhood and parenthood, which are implied in these strategies. We used semi-structured interviews with parents whose children play computer games, as well as with parents whose children do not engage in computer gaming. Interviews were conducted in 2016-17 in St. Petersburg. The parents with different social characteristics (gender, types of completed education, employment, income, religion, number and age of children, etc.) were included in this research. As analytical framework of this research, we applied ideal-type construction of models of parenting resulted from intersection of two types of dichotomy. One of them is the opposition between viewing of childhood as a period of immaturity and as a distinct part of human life. Another is the differences in parental styles of interaction depending on the level of freedom allowed to a child when it comes to decision-making.
Some conclusions of the research are following. St.Petersburg parents studied show a growing tendency towards viewing childhood as a period in which a child should become an adult as fast as possible.There is a connection between parents’ gaming experience and overall positive attitude towards child’s gaming. At the same time, parents’ frequent use of computer at work does not entail a positive attitude towards videogames and child’s involvement into them. The parental legitimation of their practices is in many ways inherited from and reproduces the Soviet attitudes towards parenting and children. However, it goes hand in hand with a (neo)liberal rhetoric in relation to the use of computer.