Past Events

Making Technology Work for the Family: Digital Connectivity and the Parenting Burden

Penang Institute
Gerakbudaya Bookshop

Talk and Meet the Author

Making Technology Work for the Family: Digital Connectivity and the Parenting Burden
Lim Sun Sun in conversation with Gareth Richards

Over the past few years, Lim Sun Sun has established herself as one of the most vital global voices engaging with the social consequences of the digital revolution. Her talk focuses in particular on the challenges faced by families – with the changing dynamics of parenting at the heart of often difficult dilemmas.

Speaker: Lim Sun Sun
Moderator: Gareth Richards

About the Talk

The bruising pandemic of the past two years accelerated household adoption of e-learning, remote work and myriad forms of digital entertainment. Well before the pandemic, however, digital mobile devices had already entrenched themselves in homes and household routines. Indeed, behind the scenes of digitally connected families today are busy lifestyles lubricated by micro-coordination, with mobile devices connecting parents to children as they manage hectic schedules, while also keeping them informed and entertained. From this climate has emerged a practice Lim Sun Sun calls ‘transcendent parenting’, where parents must transcend the physical distance between themselves and their children, their children’s offline and online social interaction spaces, as well as the ‘timeless time’ that seems to make parenting duties ceaseless. Whether at work or at home, whether their children are by their side or out of sight, it seems that parents must transcend all realms and parent relentlessly. Lim Sun Sun unpacks how digital connectivity has considerably broadened the scope and scale of parenting obligations, especially in societies that over-valorise academic excellence. She discusses the implications of such technological intensification for the well-being of parents and children and calls for restraint in our use of these digital platforms as we perform our parenting duties.


About the Speaker

Lim Sun Sun is Vice President, Partnerships and Engagement at Singapore Management University where she is concurrently Professor of Communication and Technology at its College of Integrative Studies. A prolific scholar, she conducts research on the social implications of technology and has authored over 90 journal articles, books and book chapters. Her research has been published in leading international journals including Nature, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication and Big Data and Society. Her books include Transcendent Parenting: Raising Children in the Digital Age (Oxford University Press, 2020) and the co-edited Oxford Handbook of Mobile Communication and Society (Oxford University Press, 2020). She is a Fellow of the International Communication Association, an honour conferred on the top 1% of communication scholars worldwide. She was named to the inaugural Singapore 100 Women in Tech list in 2020. From 2018 to 2020, she served as a Nominated Member of the Parliament of Singapore, where she was an advocate for more responsible use of artificial intelligence, transparency in data sharing, greater digital inclusion and enacting digital rights for children. See