Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) (Honours)

School

School of Psychology and Social Science

Faculty

Health, Engineering and Science

First Advisor

Dr Bronwyn Harman

Abstract

With the prevalence and accessibility of social media within the last 15 years it has become possible for children to have constant access to their friends and social networks. It is relatively unknown what impact adopting social media has on children and how mothers interpret this. There are gaps in the literature investigating the pervasive effects of modern technology and what meaning mothers ascribe to their children using social media as a method of connecting with the world. The present research aims to explore this phenomenon by investigating the experiences of mothers who have children that have recently adopted social media. It also examines how mothers are interpreting the impact of this phenomenon on themselves and their family. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight mothers who had a child between the age of nine and fourteen who were participating in any form social media communication. Using an interpretative phenomenological approach, three main themes were identified: (1) Identity construction and ecological transitions, (2) pressure, resistance and conformity and (3) lack of self-efficacy. The study indicates that mothers ascribe social media adoption to be a significant event in their child’s psychosocial development, and requires a concerted effort from them in order to protect their children from potential risks. Additionally, the findings suggest that mothers experienced pressure to conform to the technology, despite being aware that their child may not be balancing their social media use with other important commitments. The study adds to a growing body of literature on social media’s qualitative impact. It guides future research to investigate parenting strategies and specific aspects of this phenomenon such as identity construction and the impact on academic potential

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