Asymmetries in Asian Families’ Domestication of Mobile Communication
As powerful, portable media devices such as smartphones and tablets diffuse across the region at an unparalleled rate, families in Asia are coming to terms with the many asymmetries that these gadgets herald. Because mobile communication devices are deeply personal, but are also vested with a remarkable combination of instrumentality and emotionality, their entry into a household will inevitably provoke alternating reactions of anticipation and dread, efficacy and inadequacy, liberation and enslavement, and joy and drudgery. Within every home, these emotional dualities will pervade each family member’s experience of domesticating mobile devices, making asymmetries relating to power, expectations, practice, access, competencies, and values increasingly palpable. Families must therefore negotiate such asymmetries as they manage the growing presence of mobile communication devices and their expanding repertoire of locative and social media functions.