Family in a developmental context: Do communication technologies  

Svetina M.
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Recent studies on adolescent behavior in both Europe and the USA suggest that the use of new communication technologies (mobile telephones and particularly internet) relate to age: children seem most likely to use internet to play games, adolescents to establish and maintain social relationships, and adults to search for different kinds of information. In Europe, there is a significant proportion of families in which children/adolescents know much more than parents do about communication technologies (like purchasing items, communicating with authorities via internet portals and so on). The fact that these children seem to help their parents to cope with the societal requirements, and not the vice versa, has an impact on various aspects of family life, including parental roles, statuses, and family decision making processes. The paper presents findings from a larger study on Slovenian adolescents who were given scales of family functioning, personality, as well as adolescents' experience and attitudes toward communication technologies. The findings suggest that the gap between adolescent's and parental experience with communication technologies relates to some vital family processes and relations. The implications of these findings are further discussed.