The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age

Lynn Schofield Clark, Author
Lynn Schofield Clark. Oxford Univ., $29.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-19-989961-6
Reviewed on: 11/19/2012
Release date: 11/01/2012
Paperback - 299 pages - 978-0-19-937710-7
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Sociologist Clark (Religion, Media and the Marketplace), a media, film, and journalism studies professor at the University of Denver, is also the mother of a preteen and teen. In this book she studies how the Internet and digital and mobile media are reshaping the American family. With more than 10 years of research under her belt, Clark offers interviews and case studies with parents and children from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds as the core of her text. She observes that while parents across the board voice concern about the risks that the Internet, social media, mobile phones, and so forth present for their children, they also realize that parenting in the digital age requires involvement and mediation. In upper-income families, Clark finds, parents keep kids busy with after school enrichment activities, and encourage them to use media to enrich their education and self-development. Lower-income families, she observes, use media to foster family ties and generate respect. Although the digital world is an indisputable and increasingly indispensable part of children’s lives, it is also an arena, she argues, that widens the gap between classes. Clark provides a detailed, savvy, and scholarly view of how families are handling both the risks and benefits of the digital age. (Dec.)
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