Aboard Abroad: Supporting Transnational Parent–School Communication in Migration-Separated Families

Deana Brown, Rebecca E. Grinter


Increased migration means more transnational parenting of children who are left behind in their home countries. Parents pursuing opportunities abroad need to communicate with those who care for these now high-risk children, yet current technologies do not serve them well. Specifically, the technologies do not work for multiple caregivers, which includes parents, guardians, and educators. This research study reports findings of a design exploration into the ways an information and communication platform could be developed to increase communication among parents, guardians, and educators about the left-behind children. We draw on the results of interviews and design activities with 27 migrant parents, children, educators, and guardians living in or with ties to Jamaica. We highlight how hybrid approaches to designing social spaces (merging voice-based and online platforms) could improve access and meet the users’ differing needs. Moreover, increasing access opportunities would facilitate the (re)building of trust networks and improve a parent’s awareness of their child’s needs. We call for privacy, transparency, and visibility to be balanced against each other and built into an information and communication platform to connect the care network as a means of improving acceptance by the users.

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