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Florida International University
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Communication Arts Professor authored lead chapter in Family Communication in the Age of Digital and Social Media

Lynne M. Webb, Professor in Communication Arts, authored the lead chapter in a new book titled Family Communication in the Age of Digital and Social Media. Her chapter, From Misconceptions to More Accurate Understandings, opens the first section of the book Plugged-In Families: Characteristics, Frameworks, and New Realities in a Digital Age. The lead article of a scholarly collection is typically written by a preeminent scholar in the research area.

The chapter, From Misconceptions to More Accurate Understandings, identifies eight widespread misconceptions about families and their personal communication technology (PCT) use. The misconceptions include notions such as threatening healthy family functioning, using “screens” as babysitters, children’s overuse of technology as the root of parent-child conflicts, and the Internet prompting users to focus on relationships with those users outside the family versus face-to-face interaction with their family. Each of the eight misconceptions are either false or an oversimplification of the research findings presented. The chapter also presents a broad overview of current and existing research about families in an age of digital and social media.

Family Communication in the Age of Digital and Social Media is an innovative collection of contemporary data-driven research and essays about how digital and social media are influencing and changing family interaction across the lifespan. The research and thinking featured in the book reflects the intense growth of interest in families in the digital age. Chapters explore communication among couples, families, parents, adolescents, and emerging adults as their realities are created, impacted, changed, structured, improved, influenced and/or inhibited by cell phones, smartphones, personal desktop and laptop computers, MP3 players, e-tablets, e-readers, email, Facebook, photo sharing, Skype, Twitter, SnapChat, blogs, Instagram, and other emerging technologies. Each chapter significantly advances thinking about how digital media have become deeply embedded in the lives of families and couples, as well as how they are affecting the very ways we as twenty-first-century communicators see ourselves and, by extension, conceive of and behave in our most intimate and longest-lasting relationships.

Professor Webb (PhD, University of Oregon) conducts research on computer-mediated communication in personal relationships. She joined the FIU faculty in August 2013 after serving on the University of Arkansas faculty where she was named a J. William Fulbright Master Researcher. The courses she teaches at FIU include Interpersonal Communication, Conflict Management, and Communication in Social Media. She is the author of over eighty essays and two previously published edited volumes. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Applied Communication Research, Communication Education, Health Communication, and the Journal of Family Communication. She is a past president of the Southern States Communication Association.

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