Mobile Parenting and Global Mobility: The Case of Filipino Migrant Mothers

Mobile Parenting and Global Mobility: The Case of Filipino Migrant Mothers

Ma. Rosel S. San Pascual (University of the Philippines, Philippines)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6166-0.ch011
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Abstract

This chapter focuses its attention on Filipino mothers in diaspora and their mediated parenting as it tackles the centrality of mobile communication in transnational parenting. Apart from describing Filipino migrant mothers' mobile parenting practice in terms of the occurrence and content of their mediated parenting efforts, this chapter discusses mobile parenting by looking into the intersections of the socio-demographic, socio-economic, and socio-political landscapes of Filipino migrant mothers' mobile parenting with the social and technological dimensions of mobile parenting. In describing the landscapes, dimensions, and practice of Filipino migrant mothers' mobile parenting, evidence from interviews of 32 Singapore-based Filipino migrant mothers were supplemented by evidence from the literature on Filipino migrant parents and their transnational parenting efforts, their children left behind, and their children's caregivers.
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The Global Mobility Of Filipinos

Global diaspora is progressively becoming a familiar circumstance among the world’s population. Based on the 2013 United Nations (UN) global migration statistics, there is an estimated 232 million international migrants worldwide such that 3.2% of the world’s population are migrant residents with half of them concentrated in the United States of America, Russian Federation, Germany, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Australia, and Spain (UN Website, accessed 13 September 2013). The latest global migration statistics also reveal that Asians comprise the largest block of international migrants followed by Latin Americans (UN Website, accessed 13 September 2013).

Present-day international migration is marked by the worldwide influx of itinerant labor from developing countries to more developed nations. Among the world’s active labor-exporting countries is the Philippines and official statistics show an increasing number of Filipinos being deployed abroad, reaching over a million annually since 2006 (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration [POEA], 2006; POEA, 2011; POEA, 2012). In 2012, an average number of 4,937 Filipinos leave the country daily for overseas employment (POEA, 2012). The International Organization for Migration (IOM) even noted that, based on UN statistics, Filipinos make up the second largest population of migrants living abroad (IOM Website, accessed 13 September 2013). The popular host countries of Filipino migrant workers include Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Hong Kong, Qatar, Kuwait, Taiwan, Malaysia, Italy, and Bahrain (POEA, 2012).

Parents who are leaving their home and family in order to seek better economic opportunities abroad comprise a considerable portion of Filipino migrant workers. According to Mirca Madianou and Daniel Miller (2012), it is estimated that over 10 million Filipino children are left behind by their migrant parents. Given that family reunification is not always possible or immediately feasible (Asis, 2000; Asis, 2008), the occurrence of transnational families is steadily becoming commonplace in contemporary Philippine society (Madianou & Miller, 2012; Parreñas, 2005a).

The consequent separation of parents from their children has been raising concerns on the psychological and social effects of transnational migration on family well-being and family dynamics (for instance, Alunan-Melgar & Borromeo, 2002; Añonuevo, 2002; Asis, 2000; Asis, 2008; Battistella & Conaco, 1998; Beltran, Samonte, & Walker, 1996; Madianou & Miller, 2012; Parreñas, 2001; Parreñas, 2005a; Parreñas, 2005b; Parreñas, 2008; Pernia, Pernia, Ubias, & San Pascual, 2013; Sobritchea, 2007; Uy-Tioco, 2007). Admittedly, literature offers mixed observations regarding the psychological and social adjustments of transnational family members (for instance, Alunan-Melgar & Borromeo, 2002; Añonuevo, 2002; Battistella & Conaco, 1996; Betran, Samonte, & Walker, 1998; Madianou & Miller, 2012; Parreñas, 2001; Parreñas, 2005a; Parreñas, 2005b; Parreñas, 2008). Nonetheless, literature documents that, for Filipino transnational families, physical distance does not necessarily mean affective separation (Madianou & Miller, 2012; Parreñas, 2001; Parreñas, 2005a; Parreñas, 2005b; Sobritchea, 2007; Uy-Tioco, 2007).

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