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ConTEXT: Using text messages to support parent-child tech talk

TEC Center is studying how best to support parent and child conversation about social media, video games, and phone use. We have developed 100s of challenges that are designed to encourage you and your child to reflect and talk about technology use and its effects. We are looking for 100 parents and middle schoolers to try out ConTEXT for 15 weeks to help us learn more.

As part of the research study you and your child will receive the text message challenges for free to your phones and will be asked to complete online surveys at 3 different time points about your experiences. You will be compensated for each completed survey up to $50 per person for the entire study.

If you are interested or would like more information please complete
the ConTEXT Interest Form and we will reach out to you.

Sample Text Challenges


ConTEXT Welcome Details

Questions: Contact the TEC CENTER with subject line:ConTEXT

Susan Crown Exchange Tech + Society

Erikson Institute’s Alexis Lauricella, PhD received funding to support her work on adolescent technology use from the Susan Crown Exchange through their Tech + Society program. Dr. Lauricella launched a two-year pilot research and development project that empowers adolescent youth in Evanston, IL to help each other use digital technology in healthy and productive ways.

First, a group of junior and senior students designed, conducted, and analyzed a national survey to understand and document the positive and negative ways in which their youth use, experience, and understand digital technology.

From these research results, the team of students and researchers developed a research-informed text message intervention program to build connections between parents and tweens around healthy technology use.

This project seeks three critical outcomes:

  • Honor adolescent voice and experience related to technology use
  • Provide adolescents with research and curriculum development experience that will enhance their digital citizenship competencies
  • Build interpersonal relationships between younger and older adolescents

Erikson Institute is a member of SCE’s Youth Voice Challenge cohort. This group of exemplary organizations seeks answers to the question: How can young people inspire their peers to use technology in healthy ways and make digital spaces better for everyone? Learn more about the Challenge here.

See below for examples for other related research projects by Alexis R. Lauricella:

  1. Carter, M. C., Cingel, D. P., Lauricella, A. R., & Wartella, E. (2020). 13 Reasons Why, perceived norms, and reports of mental health-related behavior change among adolescent and young adult viewers in four global regions. Communication Research.
  2.  Lauricella, A. R. & Cingel, D. P. (2020). Parental influence on youth media use. Journal of Child and Family Studies doi:10.1007/s10826-020-01724-2
  3. Hurwitz, L., Lauricella, A. R., Hightower, B., Sroka, I., Woodruff, T. K., & Wartella, E. (2016). “When you’re a baby you don’t have puberty”: Understanding of puberty and human reproduction in late childhood and early adolescence. Journal of Early Adolescence.
  4. Wartella, E., Beaudoin-Ryan, L., Blackwell, C. K., Cingel, D. P., Hurwitz, L. B., & Lauricella, A. R. (2015). What kind of adults will our children become? The impact of growing up in a media-saturated world. Journal of Children and Media. 10.1080/17482798.2015.1124796.
  5. Blackwell, C., Lauricella, A., Wartella, E., & Conway, A. (2014). Children and the Internet: Developmental implications of web site preferences among 8- to 12-year-old children. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 58 (1), 1-20.  DOI: 10.1080/08838151.2013.875022
  6. Cingel, D. P., Lauricella, A. R., Wartella, E., & Conway, A. (2013). Predicting social networking site use and online communication practices among adolescents: The role of access and device ownership. Media and Communication, 1(1), 28-38. doi: 10.12924/mac2013.01010028

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