“My kid, my rule”: Governing children’s digital footprints as a source of dialectical tensions between mothers and daughters-in-law
This paper reports on findings from an exploratory study on social media dilemmas (SMDs) mothers experience about their children’s social media presence when their mothers-in-law share about their offspring online, violating their boundaries expectations. The work is theoretically informed by systems theory and communication privacy management theory. A parenting forum was researched to investigate how mothers themselves frame these dilemmatic situations through a thematic analysis of a sample of 1224 posts from 38 discussion threads focusing on these issues. This work shows the disorienting nature of SMDs leading mothers to seek support through online communication. Findings from this study further suggest that sharing about minors on social media can cause dialectical tensions between interacting systems (i. e. the nuclear and the extended family), with mothers claiming and expecting first-level agency in managing their children’s digital footprints to foster systemic differentiation in the digital home.
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