Subject 1 | Male | Age 52
Subject 1 owns the most devices in the house – his iPhone, PC, iPad and laptop and is the provider of the two main family TV’s in the house. Currently full time employed in a corporate job, he is required to use these devices quite frequently at home to keep up with emails and work. For leisure time, he often uses the PC to keep up with sports and news. In the morning he’ll often read the newspaper from his iPad at breakfast and of a night, you’ll find him watching TV in the main family room.
Subject 2 | Female | Age 47
Subject 2’s media usage involves her mobile phone, family computer and the television. She quite often enjoys playing games on her phone, such as Candy Crush and has recently discovered she is able to play the game on the computer as well. This is her go-to activity when she’s bored. Subject 2 uses the computer regularly during downtime, either playing games, checking emails or online shopping. She also watches TV consistently at night after dinner, however sometimes will multitask this whilst playing on her phone.
Subject 3 | Male | Age 22
Although subject 3 isn’t home all too often, when he is his media usage involves streaming online movies and shows. He’ll often be on his phone talking to and messaging friends and catching up on social media after a days work. He finds his laptop of great importance in catching up on weekly shows, downloading the latest music and connecting with others.
Subject 4 | Female | Age 20
Subject 4 is a full time university student and owns her own laptop, iPhone and iPad. She is probably the biggest media user in the household as she spends a great deal of time on her laptop for study purposes. She also has her own TV situated in her room (no Foxtel), allowing her to multitask on her laptop whilst watching/listening to her favourite shows or the news. Of a night as she often works, she uses the family TV (with Foxtel) to record any shows she’ll miss. Her iPhone is always close as she regularly messages, checks emails and uses social media. For leisure purposes, she is more likely to use her phone then go on her laptop unless she wants to watch something online or online shop which she sometimes uses her iPad to do so too.
Subject 5 | Male | Age 18
Subject 5 owns an iPhone, a school provided laptop and his own PC. Currently in his final year of high school, he has been using his laptop for study and homework purposes more often, however most of his media usage is for entertainment purposes as you’ll find him more often playing online interactive games on his PC. Rather than using his phone, he interacts with friends online through the games he plays and through applications such as Skype. He rarely uses social media and only uses his phone if he receives a message. He also owns a playstation 4, however doesn’t use this unless friends are over. It is not unusual to see subject 5 spending whole days at a time on his PC playing games.
The Impact on Family Engagement
It is quite clear that the media usage within the family mainly stems from the 3 children, subjects 3, 4 and 5. Supporting at least 17 devices within the home, subject 1 explains they have needed to upgrade their data plan a few times to accommodate the online activity that each member undertakes.
In terms of relationships, Subject 1 describes that the family used to watch TV together after dinner, however this is no longer the case as it is now just himself and subject 2. Subject 4 admits her relationship with her siblings isn’t as close as it could be due to media usage. As Subject 5 is often submersed in an online gaming world, he finds this more comfortable then spending time with the rest of the family. Similarly, when subject 3 is at home, he is busy catching up on watching shows or socialising online rather than watching TV with his parents and subject 4 is often busy with university work or other priorities.
Thus, a certain extent of disconnectedness is evident within the household, however overall the family agrees that media is a huge beneficial factor in their personal lives for work and social reasons.
The Johnson Family
Johnson 2016, pers. comm., 19 October