The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age  -     By: Lynn Schofield Clark
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The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age

Oxford University Press / 2012 / Hardcover

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Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2012
ISBN: 0199899614
ISBN-13: 9780199899616
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

Publisher's Description

Ninety-five percent of American kids have Internet access by age 11; the average number of texts a teenager sends each month is well over 3,000. More families report that technology makes life with children more challenging, not less, as parents today struggle with questions previous generations never faced: Is my thirteen-year-old responsible enough for a Facebook page? What will happen if I give my nine year-old a cell phone?

In The Parent App, Lynn Schofield Clark provides what families have been sorely lacking: smart, sensitive, and effective strategies for coping with the dilemmas of digital and mobile media in modern life. Clark set about interviewing scores of mothers and fathers, identifying not only their various approaches, but how they differ according to family income. Parents in upper-income families encourage their children to use media to enhance their education and self-development and to avoid use that might distract them from goals of high achievement. Lower income families, in contrast, encourage the use of digital and mobile media in ways that are respectful, compliant toward parents, and family-focused. Each approach has its own benefits and drawbacks, and whatever the parenting style or economic bracket, parents experience anxiety about how to manage new technology. With the understanding of a parent of teens and the rigor of a social scientist, Clark tackles a host of issues, such as family communication, online predators, cyber bullying, sexting, gamer drop-outs, helicopter parenting, technological monitoring, the effectiveness of strict controls, and much more.

The Parent App is more than an advice manual. As Clark admits, technology changes too rapidly for that. Rather, she puts parenting in context, exploring the meaning of media challenges and the consequences of our responses-for our lives as family members and as members of society.

Author Bio


Lynn Schofield Clark is Associate Professor in Media, Film, and Journalism Studies, and Director of the Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media at the University of Denver. Her books include Religion, Media, and the Marketplace (Rutgers University Press, 2007); From Angels to Aliens (Oxford University Press, 2005), and with Stewart M. Hoover, Practicing Religion in the Age of the Media (Columbia University Press, 2002).

Publishers Weekly

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 childrenÂ’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.) 2012 Reed Business Information

Editorial Reviews


"Clark provides a detailed, savvy, and scholarly view of how families are handling both the risks and benefits of the digital age." --Publishers Weekly


"For any parent out there who is anxious about your child's use of social media: this book is for you. The Parent App provides important insight into the role of technology in contemporary middle class family life, combining the perspectives of parents and youth in order to highlight where there are tensions and confusion. Using a delightful mix of narrative and analysis, Clark invites parents to understand what is unfolding so that they don't feel so trapped." --Danah Boyd, Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research


"Drawing from rich and evocative stories of the everyday lives of diverse families, Lynn Schofield Clark provides crucial analysis and insights into how media can be tied to productive connection as well as destructive tension. Anyone with an interest in how families negotiate media use will find this book highly engaging and informative, and parents will find perspectives they can apply right away in their own struggles over media in their homes." --Mimi Ito, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning, University of California, Irvine


"The Parent App is exactly what the best of 'apps' should be: leading us skillfully and swiftly to a field of interest that will help us navigate our lives more fluidly. Insightful about the dilemmas of everyday life that every American family faces in the digital age, Lynn Schofield Clark pays close attention to how people's communication habits take shape in distinct social milieux and across generations. Thoughtful, smart, and original, The Parent App is one of those rare books that genuinely speaks to the academy as well as broader audiences who will be relieved to put down their smartphones and pick up this terrific volume." --Faye Ginsburg, David B. Kriser Professor of Anthropology, New York University


"In this strongly argued book, Lynn Schofield Clark's thoughtful empirical investigations illuminate the often confused and contradictory responses of society, parents, and scholars towards the fast-changing digital environment in which our children are growing up."
--Sonia Livingstone, author of Children and the Internet


"Clark's research and richly textured interviews yield tips that can help parents use social media to cope with work-family stresses in ways compatible with their particular values and needs. This thoughtful book challenges doomsday predictions about the impact of digital technology on individuals but offers disturbing evidence that the current organization and context of social media may exacerbate rather than reduce social differences." --Stephanie Coontz, author, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap


"Clark's treatment reflects her dual role as researcher and mother and will be of interest to both scholars and parents." --Library Journal


"Clark offers an impressive treatise on mobile technologies and the changing dynamics of family communication in the digital age... Writing in an inviting prose style, Clark effectively manages to seamlessly engage readers from her dual perspective as a parent and scholar, and she convincingly outlines the myriad ways in which digital technologies are redefining how families communicate in their daily lives. Her data are fresh, the presentation is accessible, and the argumentation is sound." --CHOICE


"In highly accessible prose, Clark tells a series of engaging stories that illustrate the complex issue of how family members interact with each other as they make their way in a brave new world of mobile and digital media. ...the book contains numerous sections which could easily be excerpted for discussions of both the perceived aptness of the characterization of social class differences and the perceived appropriateness of particular teenage behavior and parental responses." --Contemporary Sociology


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