SHARING COMPANIONSHIP IN DIGITAL SPACE: GENDER-FLUX EXPERIENCES OF GRANDPARENTS AND DISTANT CHILDREN IN IBADAN SOUTHWESTERN NIGERIA

Olayinka AKANLE, Olabisi YUSUF, O. D OLA-LAWSON, Olufunmilola Esther AKANLE

Abstract


Common problem at old age is loneliness and social neglect. Most often, many elderly people feel left alone with detrimental effects on their welfare and social state. With modernization, urbanization and capitalism, children are compelled to work far from home and once this happens, social realities make it difficult for them to keep in touch with their parents. The situations become more precarious as intergenerational gaps widen to include grandchildren and grandparents. Many grandparents of Africa play nurturing roles for their grandchildren and this compensates for the companionship they lose with their immediate children. With continuous effects of modernization and capitalism however, the first level loneliness tend to play out at this second level of grand relations. With the advent of social media and IT however, the description of space and relations across spaces tend to be redefined and reappropriated in manners that blurred hitherto gender lines of neglect. It is against this backdrop that this article examined the role of social media in moderating intergenerational relations within African family social system. The primary location of this study is Ibadan, Oyo state, south western Nigeria. 200 copies of structured questionnaires were administered on grandparents and their distant children while 20 in-depth interviews were conducted with grandparents in Ibadan. While questionnaires were analyzed using the SPSS, the IDIs were tape-recorded and analyzed using ethnographic summaries and narratives. Very definitive findings were made that will enhance body of knowledge on family relations, IT, socialization, gerontology and development.


Keywords


Keywords: Companionship, Gender-flux, Digital space, social media, grand relations

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