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Enhancing relationships through technology: directions in parenting, caregiving, romantic partnerships, and clinical practice

Authors
  • Morris, Margaret E.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience
Publisher
Les Laboratoires Servier
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2020
Volume
22
Issue
2
Pages
151–160
Identifiers
DOI: 10.31887/DCNS.2020.22.2/mmorris
PMID: 32699515
PMCID: PMC7366940
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Media coverage of research on phones and social media over the last decade has prompted widespread concern and one-size-fits-all guidance to limit screen time. Recognizing the limitations of screen time as a metric, researchers are now studying technology use in terms of affordances, individual differences, and longitudinal patterns. The current review examines technology use by parents, caregivers, couples, and clinicians. Individuals in these roles navigate risks, such as privacy violations, with benefits such as improved communication, empathy, and progress toward shared goals. Successful approaches vary by relationship type but have commonalities such as engaging with the technologies used by the other person to open up sensitive conversations, negotiate conflict, and illuminate patterns that would otherwise be hard to detect. To enhance relationships, some individuals depart from the intended use of technologies, for example, adapting connected devices for emotional communication or drawing on games to cope with social anxiety. One promising way in which individuals adapt technology to improve communication involves sharing technologies that were designed for personal use. This review highlights the importance of context, motivation, and the nuances of use to understand how technologies can be optimally used in personal and clinical relationships.

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