Parent-adolescent cell phone conversations reveal a lot about the relationship

June 27, 2011
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published monthly in print and online that explores the psychological and social issues surrounding the Internet and interactive technologies. Credit: © Mary Ann Liebert Inc., publishers

The nature of cell phone communication between a parent and adolescent child can affect the quality of their relationship, and much depends on who initiates the call and the purpose and tone of the conversation, according to an illuminating study reported online in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Robert Weisskirch, MSW, PhD, California State University, Monterey Bay (Seaside, CA) notes that parents can use a cell phone to extend their parenting reach: to monitor an adolescent's whereabouts and activities, track their schoolwork, offer support, voice disapproval or criticism, or discipline their teen, for example. Similarly, adolescents may use their cell phones to communicate positive or or information with their parents.

In the current study, "No Crossed Wires: Cell Phone Communication in Parent-Adolescent Relationships," Weisskirch proposed seven specific hypotheses about how the frequency, nature, and content of parent-adolescent cell phone calls relate to the quality of the parent-child relationship in terms of self-esteem, perceptions of , and family dynamics, including closeness and support.

More information: The article is available free online at

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