Australian and New Zealand Communication Association
School of Arts and Humanities
ARC : DE140101978
This article examines the production and performance of parental surveillance of children’s internet activities within the family home. Through an analysis of qualitative interviews in the family homes of children aged from five to twelve years, the manner in which parents are positioned as ‘instruments of surveillance’ and the materiality of this surveillance are discussed. Parents’ worldly surveillance of their younger children’s internet use in Australian family homes can often be likened to Foucault’s panopticon, where the site of central inspection is often the family kitchen. This is because the physical positioning of spatial dimensions in the standard Australian home lends itself to panopticon surveillance of children. Communal living areas provide a site where the mechanisms of fixing and containing subjects (children) can be carried out. The use of these communal family spaces lends itself to watchtower-style monitoring, where the parental gaze is always possible and where children tend to assume that, and act as if, they are being watched. This is not to say, however, that children’s resistance and/or negotiation represent any lesser part of the power relationships within the panopticon kitchen.
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