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The changing face(book) of the family photo album

The changing face(book) of the family photo album

Image: OnePlus One, Camera Mode. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

New ARC-funded research from Edith Cowan University researchers, Dr Donell Holloway and Professor Lelia Green, explores how images previously found in the family photograph album are now likely to be located on the screens of phones and tablets.

Social media sites have made sharing precious family photos quicker and easier than ever before. But with around 1 billion people uploading images to Facebook each week this convenience could come at a price.

Families are outsourcing to social networking sites the task of creating, curating, sharing and archiving family memories.

Dr Holloway, an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher at Edith Cowan University, said Facebook has radically transformed the way we share our family memories and extended the networks of people that we share our memories with.

“There are positives to sharing family memories on Facebook, such as the ease at which photos can be instantly uploaded. And in some ways it’s great for family connections and sharing memories, but there are drawbacks,” Dr Holloway said.

Dr Holloway said using Facebook as a family photograph album might put the longevity of precious photographs at risk because stored data might not be as safe as you assume; and parents are also grappling with a new issue of disclosure management when they are deciding what to share online but they should consider their children’s digital footprint before they post.

“The move away from the hardcopy family album means parents now need to think carefully about what to post online and how they curate and present their children. Oversharing photos and details online can have ramifications for children in the future.”

The research, ‘Mediated memory making: The virtual family photograph album’ used data from interviews with Australian children and their parents over the past four years as part of ARC-funded Discovery and Discovery Early Career Researcher Award research projects investigating children, families and their internet use.

Media issued by Edith Cowan University.

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