Sustaining Ghanaian Transnational Parent–Child Relationships through WhatsApp: A Youth-Centric Perspective

Onallia Osei, Valentina Mazzucato*, Karlijn Haagsman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


Current research on transnational families considers information communication technologies (ICTs or new media) central to sustaining familial ties but also highlights that abilities to stay connected are not the same for all members of transnational families. Previous studies have focused mainly on how migrant parents communicate with their children at origin or on adult migrant children interacting with their parents at ‘home’; hence, the perspectives of youth are missing. Young people take an active part in transnational communications and thereby co-shape transnational relations. Moreover, studies have focused mostly on ‘old’ ICTs such as phone calls, and most recently, Facebook and Skype. As ICTs continually change, we also need to look at new technologies that enable long-distance sociability, giving young people more room for manoeuvre. We address these gaps by investigating how young people who live in Ghana employ WhatsApp to engage with their migrant parents. We show that youth are agentic herein and devise various strategies to experience a sense of being together across geographical distance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Handbook of Transnational Families Around the World
EditorsJaviera Cienfuegos, Rosa Brandhorst, Deborah Fahy Bryceson
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-15278-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-15277-1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Publication series

SeriesHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research

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