Investigating the social interactions between parents and young children during digital activities at home

Konca, Ahmet Sami
The aim of this study is to investigate how children interact with parents during digital activities. Interaction of children with other individuals is essential for communication, negotiation, and for sharing. Digital technologies have become widespread throughout all areas of a child’s life. Therefore, this study aimed to focus on the digital activities of children and the interactions that emerged during these activities. Participant observation, pre and post interviews were used to collect data in the study. The participants included four children and their parents. The children’s interaction with parents during digital activities were observed in order to explore the aims of interaction, form of interactions, and interaction strategies that were used by parents and children. The results of the study showed that children and parents interacted through directing, sharing, and informal conversation during the digital activities. While passive exposure to digital technologies, multitasking of children, inappropriate digital activity content, and irrelevant messages of interaction during the digital activities were related to conflicts, appropriate features of the digital activities and interaction related to the digital activities were linked with synchronies. Besides, it was revealed that the children and parents used several tactics during the conflicts. While the children tended to use antisocial tactics, the parents preferred to employ negotiation and social tactics during the conflicts. It was also found that three resolution strategies were identifiable at the end of the conflicts, from the most common to the least were parents’ submission, children’s submission, and compromise. Furthermore, accompanying, cooperation, and following instructions were the strategies that emerged in the cases of synchronies.