Use of mobile technological devices by children: Between consumption and family care

We present the results of an investigation directed at understanding the interests, expectations and social conflicts arising from the use of mobile technologies by children. From a critical approach, technology is understood as a disputed instrumentalisation of social interests: on the one hand the dominant interests established by consumption and the market, and on the other family expectations for communication and care within the family. During 2015 we carried out a case study involving pupils and parents/guardians of a fourth grade (primary school) class in a municipal school in the city of Temuco, Chile, using discussion groups, in-depth interviews and other research techniques suited to working with children. The object of the analysis was to understand the experiences of use, social norms, changes, conflicts and family expectations associated with mobile devices. We conclude with a reflection on the importance of understanding technological phenomena for social work, in this case for work with families, and we make some general proposals for public policy in Chile.

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