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Mobility and Emotional Harmonization in Families

James E.Katz

  Families and social relationships are of course highly important,so it is worthwhile to ask how they are being affected by omnipresent mobile communication.In this paper,I will examine how increasingly portable communication technology affects daily activities and social relationships, especially in terms of the relationship between children and parents.While much of my focus will be on practices in other parts of the world,many of these trends may be applicable to China.Prior studies have created a body of generally accepted views about this area,and often concluded that mobile phone use was leading to increased separation between young people and their parents.However,a body of recent research on current practices among older teens does not offer support of this view.Rather,in many cases,mobile phones seem to impede independence-seeking behavior of young people. Thus the proliferation of mobile phones may actually be delaying the psychological maturation of young people even while strengthening and prolonging the process of(two-way) parent-child socialization.The seeming paradox in these results is discussed in my talk,and a synthesis is advanced that seeks to explain the new situation of locational dispersion and familial acculturation under conditions of mobility.Specifically,the current practices go beyond the concept of hypercoordination (proposed by Ling in 1999) and can be described as emotional harmonization. ……   
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