The contemporary family is estranged from within. Traditional family values are said to be losing importance, while the more distancing values of online anonymity seem to be flourishing. There is a myriad of possibilities for connecting with people online, teaching new values that are at once individualizing and uniting. Meanwhile, traditional family activities have lost the instructional purpose they once had. Each generation instills different values in its members, although it is expected that family members will all share the same values. In this era of individuality, it is important to understand what the differences in values are. More traditional values are dualistic and hierarchical, creating a distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic, right and wrong, the philosophical and the material. The values of the Information Age do away with hierarchy, instead promoting egalitarian ethics. The key is not in forcing one set of values on the other, but in creating an awareness of where the differences are. Doing so will enable all parties to discuss and explore values with one another. By increasing new media literacy between family members it will be possible to bridge the gap between different sets of values by remixing expectations. This thesis highlights the changes happening within the contemporary family, differing sets of values, and proposes an innovative planning/reflection tool to help family members understand one another’s expectations more clearly.
Photo by René van der Hulst