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The lost family : the stories of Indonesian family conflicts and political messages in WhatsApp groups

Widiatmika, Keyza Pratama (2019) The lost family : the stories of Indonesian family conflicts and political messages in WhatsApp groups.

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Abstract:Besides being useful as a communication platform for connecting people, social media and messaging apps also can cause conflicts. In Indonesia, conflicts on social media and messaging apps can be triggered by provoking hate speech, which offends ethnicity, religion, race, and inter-group relations issues. Most of the conversations take place in WhatsApp groups during the Indonesian political campaign seasons. Unfortunately, this has affected family relationships. This study investigates the phenomenon of family conflicts triggered by political messages in the family WhatsApp group. To reach the study’s goal, a qualitative method is done by conducting in-depth-interviews with 16 participants from Indonesia. There are three main focuses as the basis of the investigations: the family communication pattern, the use of WhatsApp, and the conflicts itself which are triggered by politics-related messages. The findings show that during the Indonesian political campaign seasons, the family communication pattern of respondents has changed, leads to be a protective type. Political messages that were sent massively to the WhatsApp group became the medium for the family to have limited topics discussions. Along with it, the older people made “family hierarchy” as reinforcement for justifying the political messages they sent. Moreover, the different view about politic as “simple conflict” which continued into the online debate has turned into “ego conflict” through the use of harsh words to attack family members personally. Finally, “accommodating” conflict resolution was chosen by the participants as the proper way to maintain family relationships. Nevertheless, this study has limitations such as not all the participants could be interviewed face-to-face and only able to give one perspective by participants as the receivers of the messages. From the findings, this study suggests doing further studies related to the correlation of family hierarchy power and political preferences. Also, it is still needed more in-depth research about the level of digital media literacy in different generations. Besides, there have many tragedies happened because of the spread of random news in WhatsApp. This study advises some practical implications that must be taken seriously by the stakeholders such as the social media company, the governments, and the family.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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