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Family Dynamics around Teenagers' Screen Practices

Barbara Fontar, Agnès Grimault-Leprince, Mickaël Le Mentec

Research Framework: This article focuses on the relations between parents and their children during adolescence, follow on from researches in sociology of education and sociology of cultural practices. It shows how the parent-child relationship is destabilized during adolescence by new reference models related to the development of a youth culture.

Objectives: This article explains how digital practices are integrated and negotiated within the family. It presents different modes of parental regulation of teenagers digital uses linked to parents’ representations of digital tools and uses.

Methodology: This work is based on interviews with adolescents (n= 78) and some of their parents (n= 28), and 1043 answers from two questionnaires, one destined to the adolescents and one to their parents.

Results: The results show four main types of parental regulations (equipment, screen time, space and content) which are developed in different ways related to conflicting « objects » and family educational goals.

Conclusions: Our survey reveals that parents have ambivalent views about ICT. These ambivalences are found in their modes of regulation which vary according to the social origin.

Contribution: This article shows the complexity of family dynamics related to the regulation of teenagers digital uses. The digital culture of parents and their evolving representations of digital over time are disrupting traditional family educational patterns.