135: Imagining the Future Through the Lens of the Digital: Parents’ Narratives of Generational Change

Sonia Livingstone and Alicia Blum-Ross (London School of Economics and Political Science) (February, 2019)

This study explored parents’ “digital imaginaries” (Mansell, 2012), seeking to understand how and why parents narrate for themselves and their children what it means to live in a “digital age” — in the present and in an anticipated “digital future.” It also considered how digital media are being used to tell such narratives, and what strategies and resources parents use in order to shape the present so as to optimise their child’s future. The study interviewed 73 families in London with dependent children in 2015 and 2016 who were diverse in socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and age of child(ren). It also involved parents of children with special needs who hope the digital will provide a much needed work-around to socioeconomic inclusion and a viable future.