Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
PaperSession-03: Parents, Children & the Internet
Thursday, 03/Oct/2019:
9:00am - 10:30am

Session Chair: bjorn nansen
Location: O308
(cap. 40)

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9:00am - 9:20am


Amanda Aggio

Massey University, New Zealand

This paper investigates how young children experience digital advertising platforms. Specifically, it focuses on young children's participation in the YouTube app as part of an advertising mechanism that captures and profits from their views and attention. An innovative trans-disciplinary bridge between digital labour studies, biopolitics theory and qualitative research on children online has been developed to achieve this aim. The fact that children are going online progressively earlier raises critical questions around what they are experiencing in the virtual world. Data has become a way to profit and digital technology has become the infrastructure for capitalism permanence. This process of making a profit on user’s information leads to issues around trust and the confluence of surveillance and profit. It also raises questions around the persistence of Marxist concepts such as surplus labour, surplus value, and labour exploitation within the platform economy. Furthermore, in this environment one cannot disregard the relationship of power and the government of life; biopolitics should not be dissociable from capitalism. Thus, considering the early stage of young children’s cognitive development and their consequent vulnerability is urgent to understand how young children contribute to the political economy of the digital platform. The extent to which parents/caregivers and teachers are knowledgeable about the models of data mining, statistical profiling and corporate profit-generation that occur within this digital environment is also being investigated.

9:20am - 9:40am

“I prefer to build trust” – examining parental confidence in children’s digital skills

Milovan Savic

Swinburne University of Technology, Australia

Digital and social media has become deeply intertwined into children’s mundane daily routines. Considered to be digital natives, young people are often assumed to be experts in using digital and social media. As they are indeed enthusiastic users of new devices and social media platforms, children might be quick in picking up on platform’s features and affordances. However, their ability for a strategic understanding of risks and opportunities is often questioned. Parental anxiety about children’s engagement with digital and social media stems from their lack of confidence in children’s ability to navigate online risk. While academic research attempted to identify and measure digital skills, less is known how these skills are negotiated in the family.

Drawing on separate home-based interviews with children and parents, this paper looks at the approaches parents use to govern children’s digital and social media use. It discusses how confidence in children’s abilities – or varying degrees of it – affects the parental approach and success in working with their children on developing safe digital practices. Three dominant parental approaches identified across the sample are practices where parents act as watchdog, chaperon and/or collaborator. Central to each of these approaches are varying degrees of trust in children’s ability to engage in safe practices online.

9:40am - 10:00am

Relief from Communication: Parental Surveillance Technologies, Trust and Care

Maja Sonne Damkjær, Clare Victoria Southerton, Anders Albrechtslund

Aarhus University, Denmark

The everyday adoption of digital technologies such as mobile phones and social media has had transformative effects on interactions within the family (Clark, 2013), as families become increasingly dependent on their capacities for coordinating day-to-day activities and maintaining intimate relationships (Licoppe, 2004; Ling, 2014). Concurrently, these technologies enable new forms of surveillance, allowing parents to observe their children’s movements and interactions remotely, eg. via GPS-apps (Marx & Steeves, 2010), as well as lateral forms of surveillance embedded in social media practices like ‘Facebook stalking’ (Albrechtslund, 2013). This paper explores how the surveillant capacities of communication technologies are involved in shaping relations of trust in the family, drawing on empirical data from in-depth interviews with adolescents at two schools and 17 Danish families conducted during 2017. Despite surveillance often being represented as a practice which undermines trust (Mayer, 2003; Neyland, 2006; Rooney, 2010), our findings suggest that the relationship between trust and surveillance, for the families in our study, was far less straightforward. Surveillance was an important part of care practices for parents and, in some instances, tracking technologies were able to offer a kind of ‘relief’ from social pressures to remain in contact. This paper explores the perceptions of parents and adolescents regarding using communication technologies for surveillance, to examine the nuanced constitution of trust occurring.

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