The present study tracked adolescents via mobile phones to describe how parents and their adolescent children are using digital technologies in daily life (i.e. facilitating warmth and behavioral control), and whether these uses are associated with the quality of offline parent-adolescent interactions and with adolescents’ mental health. A sample of young adolescents (N = 388; mean age 13.37) completed a 14-day ecological momentary assessment in 2016- 2017, reporting on their daily digital contact and offline interactions with their parents and their mental health. Adolescents reported using texting and calling to communicate somewhat infrequently with their parents (i.e., on 29% of days), but days with more digital contacts (for both warmth and behavioral control) were also more likely to be characterized by more positive offline interactions with parents. Furthermore, adolescents struggling with mental health symptoms across the study period reported using texts/calls more frequently to seek out parent support, and parents were more likely to do text/call “check ins” on young people who were experiencing more behavioral problems. Results highlight the potential for digital communication devices to be used as tools in fostering parent-adolescent connection, support provision, and behavioral control in the digital era.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology