Mobile phone parenting in work-separated Chinese families with young children left behind: A qualitative inquiry into parenting dimensions and determinants

Ruwen Liang*, Yi Yang, Karla Van Leeuwen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although recent studies have documented how working-elsewhere parents remotely achieved parenting through mobile phones, namely, ‘mobile phone parenting’ (MPP), a comprehensive conceptualization of MPP dimensions remains underexplored. Very few researchers have focused on the case of millions of work-separated families with young left-behind children from rural China from the perspectives of parenting dimensions and parenting process (determinants of parenting). By a thematic analysis approach, this qualitative study analysed interview data from 21 rural-to-urban Chinese migrant parents to characterize and contextualize their MPP behaviours. Narratives were organized into the first theme, MPP dimensions, including parental support (responsivity and autonomy granting), psychological control and behavioural control (directive control, proactive control and harsh punitive control). The second theme reflected that parents' perceptions of their own and offspring's well-being, family media literacy and co-parenting could elucidate the process of these participants' MPP practices. There was evidence for the consistency with universal parenting dimensions, but also for some unique MPP behaviours in the context of migration and remote communications. The findings indicate the importance and ecological complexity of MPP that involves technologies, multiple participants and their interplay. The conceptual framework originating from this study may be used in future studies and guide quantitative assessments of MPP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Volume28
Issue number1
Early online date25 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

User-Defined Keywords

  • grandparenting
  • left-behind children
  • migrant parents
  • mobile phone
  • parenting
  • rural China

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