chapter  4
19 Pages

Imagining the Future Through the Lens of the Digital

Parents' Narratives of Generational Change
BySonia Livingstone, Alicia Blum-Ross

This chapter reveals parents’ stories of parenting for a digital future within the broader recognition that, through continual narration and re-narration, identity is constructed as a “kind of structure holding the individual to one biography” and, we can add, holding families together across generations. Parents often tell these stories through the lens of the digital—as regards digital affordances, practices and transformations, leading us to wonder why the digital imaginary is so effective at crystalizing parents’ concerns, notwithstanding that the social changes they are living through have multiple causes. Since for most parents, their childhood past was largely non-digital and their children’s future is constructed as highly digital, no wonder that their children’s present use of digital media is a source of tension. Some parents take a hands-on approach to brokering or scaffolding digital opportunity for their children, contradicting the now-outdated conception of parents as “digital immigrants”.