Twenty first Century Contact: Young people in care and their use of mobile communication devices and the Internet for contact

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

Abstract

This paper adds to the growing area of research that is concerned with the use of mobile communication devices and the Internet for children in care and contact. The study used a triadic method of semi-structured interviews to hear from 12 young people in care about how they communicate with individuals from their familial and friendship networks using mobile communication devices and the Internet, and their foster carers and social work practitioners. A key finding from the study was that the young people in care were not passive recipients of their familial and friendship networks. They did not deem their interaction with friends and family via mobile communication devices and the Internet as contact, but rather as staying in touch. The characteristics of this new phenomenon of contact included immediacy and reach, communication in real time and duration enabled them to control the who, how and when of staying in touch. Despite the potential of mobile communication devices and the Internet to bring cohesion between young people and individuals from their familial network this was not utilised or supported by either foster carers or social work practitioners. Instead, they saw the approach as a risk or a nuisance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAdoption & Fostering
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Dec 2019

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Keywords

  • contact
  • foster carers
  • smartphones
  • Internet
  • risk
  • birth parents

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