The Role of Children’s Digital Practices in the Creation and Maintenance of Family Routines and Feelings of Intimacy in Multilocal Everyday Life

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 17:45
Oral Presentation
Kristina PAPANIKOLAOU, Université Catholique Louvain, Belgium
The explosion, development and varieties of ICTs offer a new “polymedia” environment of communicative opportunities (Madianou & Miller, 2012). This polymediatic universe contributes to shape a “connected presence” which is according to Licoppe the base of the interpersonal relational attachments of our time (Licoppe, 2012). However it remains difficult to evaluate the effects of digital technologies on family life, even more from the perspective of children.

In this paper, I present the preliminary results of the first wave of data collection of the doctoral project “Growing up ‘connected’: social ties and digital practices within and around the family mosaic “developed in the framework of the ERC Starting Grant project “MobileKids: Children in multi-local, post-separation families’. This doctoral project highlights in particular how children who live between two homes in the context of post-separation shared custody arrangements (re)compose and maintain their social ties through their digital practices. I postulate that the use of digital media can be perceived both as a social resource to manage multilocal life, and a symbolic resource of mediatized identity construction which leads to an almost permanent multimodal connectedness (Schroeder, 2010).

I will focus in particular on the characteristics and role of children’s digital practices in the creation and maintenance of family routines and feelings of intimacy in a multilocal context. A special emphasis will be placed on the methodologies that I used to encourage children aged between 10 and 13 to share their experiences and practices, and which combine socio-spatial network games, virtual ethnography (as scrolling back on FB (Lincoln et Robards, 2017), and visual sociology.