The Technological Mediation of Leisure in Contemporary Society

Bryce, Joanne orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9144-2899 (2013) The Technological Mediation of Leisure in Contemporary Society. In: Contemporary Perspectives in Leisure: Meanings, Motives and Lifelong Learning. Routledge, London, pp. 123-138. ISBN 978-0415829892

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Historical changes in the organisation and experience of leisure activities have traditionally been associated with technological developments in entertainment, transport and production (Argyle, 1996; Bryce, 2001; Rojek, 2000). This is perhaps most apparent in the changes associated with the emergence of the Internet and related technologies as important spaces for leisure participation and experiences in recent years. Computer gaming, social networking and consumption of media content are all popular technologically mediated activities which form a significant component of the leisure lives of many individuals in contemporary society. These developments have led to societal concerns about the psychological, social and physical effects of these activities, particularly for children and young people. This chapter reviews current research examining the potential effects of computer gaming, exposure to sexually explicit material (SEM) and sexting. It aims to demonstrate the utility of considering the motivations, experiences and outcomes associated with these technologically-mediated activities within the context of the social, developmental and identity-related functions of leisure as an alternative framework for understanding their dynamics. In order to achieve this aim, the chapter considers the implications of established concepts within leisure theory to developing a deeper understanding of these behaviours. This includes a consideration of dichotomous leisure classifications (e.g., serious v casual) and constraints, and demonstrates the contribution of such an analysis towards reflexive development of these concepts.

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