Committee Chair

Tucker, James A.

Committee Member

Adsit, Karen; Bernard, Hinsdale; Rutledge, Valerie


Dept. of Education


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The study sought to determine if increased technology use affects the free-time choices of students. While technology options have grown exponentially, time remains a fixed commodity. Therefore, it is suggested that students who increasingly use technology must draw time from more traditional childhood activities. Students' free-time activities were examined to document discernable patterns among the activities valued by students who use technology extensively and the activities valued by students who use technology less frequently. Study participants were fifth and seventh grade students in a semi-rural suburban county in the southeastern United States. The data collection instrument was a self-reporting survey in which students were asked to specify their relative interest in six traditional activities in comparison to specific technology-based alternatives. Students were also asked to estimate the number of minutes per week they spent on traditional and technology-related activities. Based on their time estimates, high and low quartiles of technology use were established. The forced-choice responses of students in the upper quartile of technology use were compared to the forced-choice responses of students in the lower quartile of technology use to determine if there were differences in their expressed preferences for the six traditional activities included in the study. Although findings revealed that students in the upper quartile of technology use were less interested in all six traditional activities studied than were students in the lower quartile of technology use, reading for fun, supervised activities, outdoor activities, and having a hobby were activities more readily relinquished than were spending time with family and playing with friends, indicating their relative value among the two groups. As students abandon traditional childhood activities to pursue technology-driven options, adults who are concerned about childhood development might explore alternative means for obtaining the benefits those six activities once provided. Recommendations are made for replicating the study among different populations. Although gender and grade level were two variables that were examined in this study, it would be beneficial to determine if findings would be similar among students with more or less access to technology, with divergent socio-economic means, and from diverse ethnic backgrounds.


Ed. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Education.




Information technology -- Social aspects; Technological innovations -- Social aspects; Digital media -- Social aspects; Internet and children.


Educational Leadership

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations




xiii, 113 leaves