The Popularization of Technology and Family: The Impacts of Family Atmosphere, Parent-Child Conflicts and Parenting Approaches on Adolescents' Digital Character

Wan Ping Vincent Lee, Henry Wai Hang Ling, Johnson Chun Sing Cheung

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


More and more people concerned about the development of character strength of the young people in the world. It would be great if parents could help to facilitate their children to develop character strength such as self-regulation, perspective and love of learning through parenting.
This paper qualitatively examines how parent-child conflicts could result in negative outcome in children’s use of mobile devices from parents’ perspectives. It explores if parent’s involvement in their children’s use of mobile devices, family cohesiveness and parent-child conflicts serve as factors in leading to the development of adolescents’ character in using the gadgets – both positive and negative behaviors, by a series of focus group interviews with parents, adolescents, school teachers and social service workers. Data were collected in Hong Kong in 2014 from three focus group interviews with parents (N=21). A qualitative constructivist grounded theory research design is applied to analyze the content of the interviews. This approach aims to investigate, explain, and understand the phenomenon or meanings individuals create around their perspectives, values, attitudes, experiences, life histories, and ways of being.
The findings provide new perspectives on how parents could help their adolescent children to avoid the negative outcomes from using mobile devices by better managing parent-child conflict, and build up a positive character in the digital world as mobile devices are easily accessible and ubiquitous. Parenting methods/approaches, parent-child interactions and family atmospheres are strong factors directly contributing to children’s “mobile character”. Furthermore, cohesive family relations are more strongly associated with positive outcomes from using mobile devices; conflicting family relations are contributing to more negative digital behaviors and wellbeing of the adolescents.
For the social service providers, this shall provide a comprehensive reference for them to understand how parents and adolescents think about family dynamics and relationships under the impact of technological development on individual families, so that they could consider which intervention approaches could effectively support parents how to develop the character strength of their children through parenting and different technologies. Lastly, the outline of a parenting training program was addressed at the last part of this chapter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCharacter Strength Development
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives from Positive Psychology
EditorsKumar P. Annesh, Tony Sam George, N. T. Sudhesh
Place of PublicationNew Delhi
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)978-93-528-0777-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


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