Technology-mediated parenting: Narratives of Leftbehind Adolescent Children of Overseas Filipino Workers

MARIA VIRGINIA G AGUILAR

Abstract


The Philippines, being one of the largest migrantsending countries in the world, is also one of Asia’s biggest source of labor workers to more than a hundred countries. International migration among Filipinos is driven by the desire for economic advancement, not of the migrant workers themselves but of their respective families. Specifically, Filipino parents single out their children’s education as the most vital motivation for working overseas. In the absence of both parents, what becomes of the family back home? To what degree can parents perform their parenting duties from afar? What are the impacts of child-parent separation? To answer these questions, indigenous qualitative methods were used to elicit information from 15 purposively chosen college students who are also children of OFWs. Several findings are notable. First, the left-behind children recognize the economic upturn brought about by overseas employment resulting to their family’s increased purchasing capacity. Second, communication mediated by technology (skype, facebook, messenger) are heavily relied upon by parents to “parent” their children. Despite the consistency of communication, the children think that there are areas in their lives that only a face-to-face encounter would suffice, especially between them and their mother. Third, familial roles are reconfigured as the oldest child, most often the daughter becomes the pseudo-parent, requiring a lot of effort and time resulting to emotional and academic difficulties on her part. It is recommended that higher education institutions provide appropriate interventions to address the needs of these students.

Keywords: overseas Filipino workers, left-behind children, parenting, technology-mediated


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Department of Public Administration
KHON KAEN UNIVERSITY.
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Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand

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