1st Edition

Parenting Cyber-Risk Opportunities and Challenges Raising Children with Digital Environments

    196 Pages
    by Routledge

    On the back of their last book, Cyber-risk and Youth, and building on a new research project, Adorjan and Ricciardelli marshal current research to explore parenting in the digital age.


    Utilising 70 original interviews from rural and urban area Canadian parents, the book provides an overview of research on ‘digital parenting’ and illuminates the modern parental experience of managing children’s access to internet-connected technologies. The book explores parents’ experiences with cyberbullying and non-consensual sexting, as well as concerns over breaches of privacy, screen time and internet addiction. It also investigates parents’ views regarding effective and ineffective strategies in mediation of technology and cyber-risk, including new directions such as restorative practices intended as a response to online conflict and harm. While framing their discussions amongst sociological theories, Adorjan and Ricciardelli also deliberately emphasise the gendered nature of the book’s discourses and encourage critical reflection of various online surveillance technologies, often marketed to mothers, to keep children safe.


    As such, Parenting Cyber-Risk is a standout research monograph which not only offers broad insight into 21st century parenting challenges, but also offers solutions. The book will be of interest to advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students studying criminology, sociology, and any other related fields.



    1. Introduction

    Background and Context



    2. Existing Research


    Technoparenting, Addiction and Mental Health

    Parental Regulation of Digital Technologies: A Spectrum of Practices

    Final Thoughts



    3. COVID-19 Affects on Technoparenting and Children’s Mental Health and Well-being


    Rapid Change, Uncertainty, and Impacts on Youth Mental Health and Well-Being

    School Lockdowns and Digital Divides

    Silver Linings: Promoting Positive Mental Well-Being during Lockdowns

    Implications for Technoparenting  




    4. Research Methodology

    Background – Previous Research with Teens and Cyber-Risk

    Recent Qualitative Approaches to ‘Cyber’ Parenting

    The Sample, Recruitment and Analysis

    Grounding Our Data – A Note on Grounded Theory

    Ethics and Positionality



    5. Cyber-Addiction


    Comparisons with Illicit Drug Use and Withdrawal

    Tweens, Teens, and Technology Burnout (For Parents)

    The Social Lure of Screen Time

    The Cultural Blind Spot: Parental Technology Addictions

    Re-Focusing Our Concerns




    6. Parenting Mediation of Technology Access and Use


    First Phones: Navigating Expense, Peer Exclusion and Gaining Independence

    Parental Rules, Restrictions and Surveillance

    Use of Tracking Technologies

    Surveillance and Child Safety and Security

    In Sum: Parenting Norms, Big Tech and Surveillance




    7. Gendered Cyber-Risks

    Navigating Cyber-Risks: The Role of Gender

    Personality versus Gender

    Boys and Girls: “Equal” Treatment for All?

    The Gendered Double Standard

    ‘Drama’ and Related Emotional and Social Harms among Daughters

    Sexting and the Permanence of Online Content


    Body Image

    When She’s Older…

    Sons and Masculinities

    Summing Up: Implications for Parenting




    8. School Responses and Restorative Practices


    Managing Technology in the Classroom

    Effective Responses to Online Conflict and Harm

    Ineffective Responses to Online Conflict and Harm

    Restorative Practices in Response to Online Conflict and Harm

    Benefits of Restorative Practices

    Difficulties Implementing Restorative Practices

    A Calculus of Intervention Worthyness




    9. Strategies


    Effective Strategies: Enacted with Children

              Digital Citizenship

    Teaching Life Skills about Privacy and Permanency Online

    Balance, Boundaries, and Critical Media Awareness Skills

    Effective Strategies: Enacted onto Children

              Chores and Physical Activities First

    Ineffective Strategies

              Limiting Screen Time

    Other Parents

    Tech Removal as Punishment

    The Last Resort: Device Distraction





    10. Conclusion



    Appendix 1 – Participant Demographics

    Appendix 2 – Interview Schedule




    Michael Adorjan is an associate professor at the University of Calgary. His research and teaching centres on youth and cyber-risk, drawing from theoretical areas including dramaturgy and social constructionism, surveillance and privacy. Recent publications examine both educator and parent understandings and responses to cyberbullying and other forms of online mediated conflict and harm, and restorative practices in response to cyber-risk. He also publishes on Hong Kong, especially responses to youth crime and public perceptions of police in Hong Kong, and with Rosemary Ricciardelli, is involved in research examining correctional officers in Canada.


    Rosemary Ricciardelli is Professor (PhD) in the School of Maritime Studies and Research Chair in Safety, Security, and Wellness, at Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Fisheries and Marine Institute. Elected to the Royal Society of Canada, her research centers on evolving understandings of gender, vulnerabilities, risk, and experiences and issues within different facets of the criminal justice system and among mariners. She has published vastly in the areas of public safety, criminalized persons, and wellness – broadly defined. As a sex and gender researcher, her interests lay in the social health, identity construction, and lived experiences of individuals. 

    'A welcome addition to the sociological literature on children, risk and online technologies, this book provides an in-depth and nuanced look at parents’ understandings, experiences and strategies as mediated by cultural expectations.  It will prove valuable to sociologists of technology, youth and family as well as to parents themselves whose voices have been largely absent from the literature on digital parenting.'

    - Glenda WallProfessor Emeritus, Sociology, Wilfrid Laurier University


    'Adorjan and Ricciardelli bring needed clarity to the growing complexities and contradictions in technoparenting, set within the broader context of an increasingly algorithmic world. Parenting Cyber-Risk actively translates new research and the existing literature into sociologically-grounded guidance for schools and families, while pointing towards the need for future research. Emphasizing a holistic, restorative approach that resists dualistic notions of “online” and “real life,” “victim” and “cyberbully,” the authors work to address the lived risks and experiences of mediated families.'

    - Nathan FiskAssistant Professor, Cyber-security Education, University of South Florida