An interesting contrast to this was revealed in her research on middle class families in China. It showed that ICTs are seen as essential tools for building guanxi (social networks) that can aid the family’s efforts in upward mobility. Chinese parents are also extremely concerned about the ill effects of new technology. Viewed as instruments of upward mobility, symbols of success, and conduits for guanxi or relationship building, ICTs are embraced by middle-class Chinese families today. Such families are intensively using ICTs to enhance familial interaction and seek societal endorsement. Underlying this trend is China’s rising economic wealth and the success of its one-child policy. With only one child to dote on, middle–class Chinese parents actively create a media-rich environment for their children through the purchase of new ICTs, convinced of these products’ educational value.
Similarly, while middle class South Korean parents are concerned about excessive use or misuse of ICTs, they also recognise that in a technology-driven society like theirs, their children cannot be deprived of exposure to ICTs. Parents do impose some form of control over the nature and duration of their children’s ICT use. This control is significantly influenced by the family’s prioritisation of the child’s education, and societal valorisation of academic achievement. Like their counterparts in Singapore and China, South Korean children also demonstrated self-restraint with regard to their technology use, reflecting their achievement orientation and concern for academic success.
Comparing her research findings across the three countries, she found that when parents show greater involvement and interest in their children’s ICT use, the children are more likely to use technology for positive rather than negative purposes. Communication between the two generations also improves as ICTs and their contents can serve as useful points of interaction and mutual understanding. ICTs can even help to erode communication barriers, such as when family members find it difficult to broach awkward topics face-to-face, but initiate reconciliation through ICT mediated communication.
Lim, S. S. (Forthcoming). ICT domestication by middle-class South Korean families – An ethnographic perspective. Bangkok: ASEAN Universities Network
Lim, S. S. (2006). From cultural to information revolution: ICT domestication by middle-class families in urban China. In M. Hartmann, T. Berker, Y. Punie & K. Ward (Eds.), Domestication of media and technology. Maidenhead: Open University Press. 185-204
Lim, S. S. (2005) A Contextualised Understanding of Youth, Media and the Asian Family, Journal of Development Communication, 16(1): 20-28
Lim, S. S. and Tan, Y. L. (2004) Parental Control of New Media Usage – The Challenges of Infocomm Illiteracy, Australian Journal of Communication, 31(1): 57-74.
Lim, S. S. and Tan, Y. L. (2003) Old People And New Media In Wired Societies: Exploring The Socio-Digital Divide In Singapore, Media Asia, 30(2) : 95 – 102
Lim, S. S. (2006, July) One child, two parents and a host of technologies - A study of urban China’s media-rich households, China's Internet and Chinese Cultures: The Fourth Annual Chinese Internet Research Conference 2006, Singapore. 21-22 July
Lim, S. S. (2006, July) Children, technology and media domestication in Singapore, China and South Korea, Asia-Pacific Childhoods Conference ‘An ethnography of childhood’ , Singapore. 17-20 July
Lim, S. S. (2004, December) Family Communication in Urban China: ICT Domestication by Middle-Class Families in Beijing and Shanghai, Paths of Urban Change: Social and Spatial Perspectives, Singapore.
Lim, S. S. (2004, July) Youth, Media and the Asian Family: Contextualising our Understanding, Understanding our Context, 13th Asian Media Information & Communication Centre Annual Conference on ICT & Media Inputs & Development Outcomes - Impact of New & Old Media on Development in Asia, Bangkok, Thailand