How do mobile and digital devices impact family communications? Find out Thursday at Roanoke College

Dr. Lynn Schofield Clark

Dr. Lynn Schofield Clark

Salem, Va. - Children, pre-teens and teenagers today have boundless mobile and digital communications options at their fingertips, from cell phones to Facebook and Twitter. So, how do they communicate with their parents and how does this characterize the family?

Dr. Lynn Schofield Clark, an associate professor and director of the Estlow International Center for Journalism & New Media at the University of Denver, decided to find out. On Thursday she will bring her insights to Roanoke College.

Clark, author of the soon-to-be available book, "The Parent App: Understanding Families and Media in a Digital Age," will kick off Roanoke's Virginia Humanities Conference with an 8 p.m. lecture on the premise of her book, which traces how economic differences impact the ways families use mobile and digital media.

Clark interviewed families of numerous backgrounds for the book, which took her several years to write and will be for sale this fall. Its main idea? While some parents encourage children to use digital and mobile media for education and self-development purposes, others push these devices for social use. Both uses reflect cultural and economic gaps in the way society communicates, Clark says.

The public is invited to Clark's talk, but she said the lecture, held at the College's Colket Center Wortmann Ballroom, targets students. Clark's appearance is sponsored by Roanoke's Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Her visit marks the start of the Virginia Humanities Conference held at Roanoke through March 24. The conference, which promotes interest and research in the humanities, will include a poetry reading by Susan Facknitz of James Madison University's English department, an appearance by Appalachian Storyteller, Linda Goodman, and a panel discussion about children in war-torn Sudan.

The keynote speaker, John Wall, chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Rutgers University, will speak about the challenge of childhood to the humanities.

For more information about the conference, visit

Roanoke College, a classic liberal arts college in Salem, Virginia, combines firsthand learning with valuable personal connections in a beautiful, undergraduate setting. Roanoke is one of just seven percent of colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review lists Roanoke as the 18th most beautiful campus in its "Best 376 Colleges" 2012 guidebook.

Released: March 21, 2012
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