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A major concern about new technologies like information technology (IT) is how much they impact existing media and behaviour, particularly in reducing time on these behaviours. The present article first examines whether Internet users report spending less time on various leisure (and non-leisure) activities. It uses data from three separate national surveys about the public's leisure participation: (1) estimate data from the SPPA2008; (2) single-day diary data from the 2003–2007 American Time Use Survey; and (3) weekly diary data from the 2000 National Survey of Parents to examine whether users of IT participate less in various leisure activities, perhaps as a function of substituting IT use for participating more actively. First, the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA) estimate data show that users and heavier IT users are also more active in a variety of other free time activities such as movies, volunteering and sports. Moreover, the relation continues to hold after education (the major predictor of leisure participation), income, age and other predictors of leisure activity are controlled. However, both daily and weekly diary data show far less if any difference, and the lack of parallel results from these diary studies raises questions about whether the SPPA correlations result from a ‘response set’ of respondents overestimating their activity participation. Nonetheless, there still seems no solid evidence that IT leads to notable decreases in social life, media use or other ways of spending both free time and non-leisure time, as claimed in the three initial surveys.
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Keywords: communication studies; computer-mediated communication; domestication of ICTs

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Maryland, College ParkMD20742, USA< xmlns:xlink="" xlink:href="">[email protected], Email: [email protected], URL:

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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