Developing freedom: behavioural and social freedoms for children via mobile phones and internet devices

Moyse, Karen Ina (2016) Developing freedom: behavioural and social freedoms for children via mobile phones and internet devices. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

24207 Moyse Karen - Psychology - July 2016.pdf
24207 Moyse Karen - Psychology - July 2016.pdf - Whole Document
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Item Status:Live Archive


Middle years children (7 - 12 years) engaging with mobile phones has become a
very normal part of their behaviour in recent years. It is an important issue for
psychologists to explore in relation to learning about children’s development
and behaviour currently. The internet is part of the mobile phone, so one cannot
be explored without looking at the other. Much of the evidence that exists has
explored children’s use of the internet, but there is less evidence available about
children using mobile phones. Only recently has evidence started to emerge.
Questions were devised for this research project asking children (7 – 12 years)
about the meaning of mobile phones / internet devices, as well as investigating
children’s use of these devices on the parenting role. A qualitative research
approach was taken in order to investigate children's views and parents' views,
so that in-depth knowledge could be gained. Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) theory on
social development was incorporated as the underpinning theory for this
research, to assist in understanding children’s social development in different
social settings. Critical realism (Maxwell, 2012) was selected as the
epistemological approach as it allowed participants' realities to be considered
closely alongside established knowledge. As children's use of the mobile phone
is a new behaviour for them, established knowledge and views from the field of
young people’s use of mobile phones was included but separately; allowing
children's realities to be considered and compared within a wider social context.
A triangulated research design was thus adopted; comparing the views of these
different groups of participants (children, parents and young people). Focus
group interviews were undertaken with all participants, along with individual
interviews for children. Thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006, 2013) was
applied to analyze all participants' views. Three main themes emerged:
1. Appropriate communications, where children's views about communicating
appropriately on their devices were revealed; 2. Freedom, highlighting freedom
as an emerging concept for children, where mobile phones particularly played
an important role in creating opportunities for children to develop freedom both
behaviourally and socially; 3. Time, the final theme shows how parents were
thinking about children's use of these devices across time, as a way of
understanding their social development. It was revealed that the mobile phone
was used as a resource within the parenting role, helping parents to manage
children’s behaviour. These themes together form a framework for exploring
children’s use of mobile / internet devices. The research also explored some of
the social processes underlying interactions between children and parents
around children’s devices. It included the unique nature of this cohort of
children as early users of mobile phones, as well as parents’ concerns about their
children’s use of them. In conclusion this research project, by exploring children's
realities alongside those of young people and parents, has helped to develop
an understanding about children’s behaviour in a contemporary context
through their use of mobile / internet devices, for one group of children. It has
also demonstrated how freedom can emerge for children within different social
settings (Bronfenbrenner’s settings, 1979). Further research will need to be
undertaken with middle years children to see if similar findings are revealed.

Keywords:Technology, Social behaviour
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:24207
Deposited On:19 Sep 2016 15:11

Repository Staff Only: item control page