Families, Relationships and Societies
An international journal of research and debate

Being a good digital parent: representations of parents, youth and the parent–youth relationship in expert advice

Author: Glenda Wall1
View author details View Less
  • 1 Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada
Restricted access
Get eTOC alerts
Rights and permissions Cite this article

Social concern about online behaviour and safety of children and youth has increased dramatically in the last decade and has resulted in an abundance of parenting advice on ways to manage and protect children online. The cultural context in which this is happening is one characterised by intensive parenting norms, heightened risk awareness, and growing concerns about the effects of ‘over-parenting’, especially in the teenage years. Using contemporary advice to parents on managing adolescents’ digital experiences, this study investigates the ways that parenting, youth and the youth–parent relationship are depicted. Parental roles, in this material, are portrayed as instrumental and pedagogical while youth are assumed to lack agency and judgement. Intensive parenting expectations are extended as parents face advice to be both highly vigilant agents of surveillance and trusted confidantes of their children, with an overall goal of shaping children’s subjectivity in ways that allow them to become self-governing.

  • Aurini, J., Missaghian, R. and Milian, R.P. (2020) Educational status hierarchies, after-school activities, and parenting logics: lessons from Canada, Sociology of Education, 93(2): 17389. doi: 10.1177/0038040720908173

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Beck-Gernsheim, E. (1996) Life as a planning project, in S. Lash, B. Szerszynski and B. Wynne (eds) Risk, Environment and Modernity: Towards a New Ecology, London: Sage.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Birks, M. and Mills, J. (2011) Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

  • Bristow, J. (2014) The double bind of parenting culture: helicopter parents and cotton wool kids, in E. Lee, J. Bristow, C. Faircloth and J. Macvarish (eds) Parenting Culture Studies, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 20015.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Caputo, V. (2007) ‘She’s from a good family’: performing childhood and motherhood in a Canadian private school setting, Childhood, 14(2): 73192. doi: 10.1177/0907568207078326

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chin, T. (2000) ‘Sixth grade madness’: parental emotion work in the private high school application process, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 29(2): 12463. doi: 10.1177/089124100129023855

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Clark, L.S. (2013) The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Edwards, R. and Gillies, V. (2011) Clients or consumers, commonplace or pioneers? Navigating the contemporary class politics of family, parenting skills and education, Ethics and Education, 6(2): 14154. doi: 10.1080/17449642.2011.622982

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Faircloth, C. (2014a) Intensive parenting and the expansion of parenting, in E. Lee, J. Bristow, C. Faircloth and J. Macvarish (eds) Parenting Culture Studies, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 2550.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Faircloth, C. (2014b) The problem of ‘attachment’: the ‘detached’ parent, in E. Lee, J. Bristow, C. Faircloth and J. Macvarish (eds) Parenting Culture Studies, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 14764.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Finkelhor, D. (2011) The internet, youth safety and the problem of ‘juvenoia’, Crimes Against Children Research Center, http://unh.edu/ccrc/pdf/Juvenoia%20paper.pdf.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Finkelhor, D. (2014) Commentary: cause for alarm? Youth and internet risk research – a commentary on Livingstone and Smith, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 55(6): 65558. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12260

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fisk, N. (2014) ‘... when no one is hearing them swear’: youth safety and the pedagogy of surveillance, Surveillance & Society, 12(4): 56680. doi: 10.24908/ss.v12i4.5059

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fisk, N. (2016) Framing Internet Safety: The Governance of Youth Online, Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

  • Furedi, F. (2008) Paranoid Parenting: Why Ignoring the Experts May be Best for Your Child, London: Continuum.

  • Gillies, V. (2006) Marginalised Mothers: Exploring Working Class Experiences of Parenting, London: Routledge.

  • Gagné, C. (2018) Screen-time systems, Today’s Parent, 35(1): 3335.

  • Goldenberg, M. (2014) Learning about sex through social media, Today’s Parent, https://www.todaysparent.com/family/kids-sex-social-media/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Government of Canada (2015a) Is your child cyberbullying?, www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cbr-scrt/cbrbllng/prnts/chld-cbrbll-en.aspx.

  • Government of Canada (2015b) How can my child stand up to cyberbullying?, www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cbr-scrt/cbrbllng/prnts/chld-stnd-cbrbllng-en.aspx.

  • Government of Canada (2017) Digital citizenship guide for parents, https://mediasmarts.ca/sites/default/files/guides/digital-citizenship-guide.pdf.

  • Government of Canada (2018a) What is cyberbullying?, www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cbr-scrt/cbrbllng/prnts/cbrbllng-en.aspx.

  • Government of Canada (2018b) How can you prevent cyberbullying?, www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cbr-scrt/cbrbllng/prnts/prvnt-cbrbllng-en.aspx.

  • Hays, S. (1996) The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

  • Hoffman, D.M. (2010) Risky investments: parenting and the production of the ‘resilient child’, Health, Risk & Society, 12(4): 38594. doi: 10.1080/13698571003789716

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jezierski, S. and Wall, G. (2019) Changing understandings and expectations of parental involvement in children’s education, Gender & Education, 31(7): 81126.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Knorr, C. (2019) Talking to your kids about sexting is more important than ever, Today’s Parent, www.todaysparent.com/kids/tween-and-teen/tips-for-talking-to-kids-about-sexting/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lareau, A. (2003) Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

  • Lee, E. and Macvarish, J. (2020) The ‘helicopter parent’and the paradox of intensive parenting in the 21st century, Lien Social et Politique, 85: 1942. doi: 10.7202/1073740ar

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lee, E., Macvarish, J. and Bristow, J. (2010) Risk, health and parenting culture, Health, Risk & Society, 12(4): 293300. doi: 10.1080/13698571003789732

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Livingstone, S. and Blum-Ross, A. (2020) Parenting for a Digital Future: How Hopes and Fears about Technology Shape Children’s Lives, New York: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lupton, D. (2012) Configuring maternal, preborn and infant embodiment, SSRN Electronic Journal, doi: 10.2139/ssrn.2273416.

  • Macvarish, J., Lee, E. and Lowe, P. (2014) The ‘first three years’ movement and the infant brain: a review of critiques, Sociology Compass, 8(6): 792804. doi: 10.1111/soc4.12183

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Madigan, S. (2018) 12 ways to make sure your kids don’t stumble on sexy stuff online, Today’s Parent, www.todaysparent.com/family/family-life/ways-to-make-sure-your-kids-dont-stumble-on-sexy-stuff-online/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McCain, M. and Mustard, J. (1999) Early Years Study: Final Report, Toronto: Publications Ontario.

  • MediaSmarts (2012) Parenting the digital generation, https://mediasmarts.ca/tutorial/parenting-digital-generation.

  • MediaSmarts (2014a) Internet safety tips by age: 11–13, https://mediasmarts.ca/tipsheet/internet-safety-tips-age-11–13.

  • MediaSmarts (2014b) Internet safety tips by age: 14–17, https://mediasmarts.ca/tipsheet/internet-safety-tips-age-14–17.

  • MediaSmarts (2015b) Parents’ guide to cyberbullying, https://mediasmarts.ca/teacher-resources/parents%E2%80%99-guide-cyberbullying.

  • MediaSmarts (2016) Are you web aware? A checklist for parents, https://mediasmarts.ca/tipsheet/are-you-web-aware-checklist-parents.

  • Meeussen, L. and Van Laar, C. (2018) Feeling pressure to be a perfect mother relates to parental burnout and career ambitions, Frontiers in Psychology, 9: 2113. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02113

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nadesan, M.H. (2002) Engineering the entrepreneurial infant: brain science, infant development toys, and governmentality, Cultural Studies, 16(3): 40132. doi: 10.1080/09502380210128315

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nelson, M.K. (2010) Parenting Out of Control: Anxious Parents in Uncertain Times, New York: NYU Press.

  • Overland, H. (2011) The optimistic parent’s guide to kids and texting, Today’s Parent, www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/the-optimistic-parents-guide-to-kids-and-texting/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ramaekers, S. and Suissa, J. (2012) What all parents need to know? Exploring the hidden normativity of the language of developmental psychology in parenting, Journal of Philosophy of Education, 46(3): 35269. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9752.2012.00866.x

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ranson, G. (2018) The Parents and Children Project: Raising Kids in Canada Today, Rock Mills Press.

  • Rivas, E. (2016) How to outsmart your kids online, Today’s Parent, www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/how-to-outsmart-your-kids-online/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rizzo, K.M., Schiffrin, H.H. and Liss, M. (2013) Insight into the parenthood paradox: mental health outcomes of intensive mothering, Journal of Child and Family Studies, 22(5): 61420. doi: 10.1007/s10826-012-9615-z

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rogers Sports & Media (2020) Today’s Parent, www.rogerssportsandmedia.com/brands/todays-parent/.

  • Romagnoli, A. and Wall, G. (2012) ‘I know I’m a good mom’: young, low-income mothers’ experiences with risk perception, intensive parenting ideology, and parenting education programs, Health, Risk, and Society, 14(3): 27389. doi: 10.1080/13698575.2012.662634

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sapieha, C. (2018) 4 easy ways to keep your kids safer when they’re online, Today’s Parent, www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/easy-ways-to-keep-your-kids-safer-when-theyre-online/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smyth, C. and Craig, L. (2017) Conforming to intensive parenting ideals: willingness, reluctance and social context, Families, Relationships and Societies, 6(1): 107124. doi: 10.1332/204674315X14393034138937

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Staksrud, E. (2013) Children in the Online World: Risk, Regulation, Rights, Surrey: Ashgate.

  • Stein, S. (2018) An age-by-age guide to kids and smartphones, Today’s Parent, www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/an-age-by-age-guide-to-kids-and-smartphones/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thornton, D.J. (2011) Neuroscience, affect, and the entrepreneurialization of motherhood, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 8(4): 399424. doi: 10.1080/14791420.2011.610327

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wall, G. (2004) Is your child’s brain potential maximized? Mothering in an age of new brain research, Atlantis: A Women’s Studies Journal, 28(2): 4150.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wall, G. (2010) Mothers’ experiences with intensive parenting and brain development discourse, Women’s Studies International Forum, 33(3): 25363.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wall, G. (2018) ‘Love builds brains’: representations of attachment and children’s brain development in parenting education material, Sociology of Health and Illness, 40(30): 395409. doi: 10.1111/1467-9566.12632

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Waverman, E. (2013) Children and cellphones: rules that work, Today’s Parent, https://www.todaysparent.com/kids/tween-and-teen/children-and-cellphones-rules-that-work/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Woodhead, M. (2009) Child development and the development of childhood, in J. Qvortrup, W. Corsaro and M. Honig (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Childhood Studies, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 4661.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 1 Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

Content Metrics

May 2022 onwards Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 11 11 11
Full Text Views 2 2 2
PDF Downloads 2 2 2

Altmetrics

Dimensions