Aarhus University Seal

Personal Data Flows: Negotiating parent-child photo sharing practices

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

This paper systematically analyzes emerging practices of sorting, sharing and storing photos in everyday family life. We report from a study of how Danish families and school children implement and negotiate the use of digital technologies. The purpose is to investigate why digital technologies are used and how they potentially change the relation between parents and children. Both parents and children use their digital devices, particularly smartphones, as cameras to document their lives and to share photos with others. The interviews show that parents do not generally plan to store or organize their photos, and even less their children’s photos. This seems to indicate a shift from a pre-digital perception of photos as objects to be packaged, accumulated, framed etc. which can age and disappear (see Sontag, 1977) to something perceived less as images to archive and preserve and more as social artefacts serving more immediate communicative purposes (Lobinger, 2016). The use of digital technologies in families also implicate negotiations about the boundaries of trust and intimacy in parent-child relations which can lead to strategies of resistance or modification (Fotel and Thomsen, 2004; Steeves and Jones, 2010). The tensions and negotiations brought about by the use of digital technologies in family relations can be seen as a result of the dynamics of a data culture shaped by digital media.


Fotel, T., & Thomsen, T. U. (2002). The Surveillance of Children’s Mobility. Surveillance & Society, 1(4), 535-554.
Lobinger, K. (2016). Photographs as things–photographs of things. A texto-material perspective on photo-sharing practices. Information, Communication & Society, 19(4), 475–488.
Sontag, S. (1977). On Photography. Picador.
Steeves, V., & Jones, O. (2010). Editorial: Surveillance, Children and Childhood. Surveillance & Society, 7(3/4), 187–191.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventAnnual meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science - Sydney International Convention Centre, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 29 Aug 20181 Sept 2018
Conference number: 2018


ConferenceAnnual meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science
LocationSydney International Convention Centre
Internet address

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 121109217