Family Conflicts and Technology Use: The Voices of Grandmothers

Loredana Ivan, Galit Nimrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Our aim was to understand family conflicts, specifically those involving grandmothers, related to use of new communication technologies. Background: Research shows that tension between family members in intergenerational contexts arises in relation to technology. This is especially common when attitudes toward technology differ among family members. Differing opinions around technology use create gaps in skills and perceived competence. Grandparents' voices about the challenges of perpetual connectivity in family settings are absent in the research on technology domestication and mediation. Method: To fill this gap, semistructured group interviews were conducted with women in Canada, Colombia, Israel, Italy, Peru, Romania, and Spain. All women were aged 65 years and older, had grandchildren, and used information and communication technology (ICT). Results: Grandmothers experienced conflicts when interacting with grandchildren due to ginability to recognize online threats. Asking for help in managing different applications could be a source of family conflicts. Embarrassment and unease is reduced when grandmothers call grandchildren for help, rather than receive assistance from their adult children. Conflictual moments also emerged around the use of ICT at family dinners or other gatherings, with grandmothers showing more tolerance in this context for grandchildren than for their adult children. Conclusion: Family conflicts over technology use may differ when involving adult children versus grandchildren. Implications: The voices of grandmothers express the importance of permanent and affordable opportunities for people to receive assistance in technology use outside of family contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-119
Number of pages16
JournalFamily Relations
Volume70
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • family conflicts
  • grandmothers
  • grandparents
  • information and communication technologies
  • mediation

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