Exploring Technology Usage and Leisure Activities from Childhood to Emerging Adulthood

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Sonja Trent-Brown

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In the past 20 years, there has been a surge in daily technology use. Concurrently, there have been significant changes in childhood leisure activities. We investigate technology usage and activity preference from childhood through emerging adulthood. Electronics usage at various developmental stages may influence perceptions of the usefulness of technology, current activity preferences, and activity levels. Additionally, Leary et al. (2008) showed that the activity preference of parents is correlated with the activity preference of their children. Further, research suggests that physical activity can also influence brain health and learning (Cotman, Berchtold, & Christie, 2007; Ratley & Loehr, 2011). Similarly, Rideout, Foehr, and Roberts (2010) demonstrated that media use was associated with academic performance. Participants were recruited from various collegiate departments. The online Qualtrics survey takes approximately 25 minutes to complete. It examines electronic media use and activity preferences during childhood, during emerging adulthood, and as a prospective parent. We predict that age will correlate with perceptions of and initial implementation of technology and that participants’ enjoyment of childhood activities would be related to the influence and encouragement of their parents. We expect that GPA will be related to how students interact with their environment, such as their activity level, time spent outdoors, and time engaging with electronic media. We predict a negative correlation between age and favorable perceptions of technology and a positive correlation between current age and age of initial technology use. Media usage is nearly ubiquitous in our society, but technology develops at such a rate that makes it difficult to track its impact. Many interventions target childhood media use, yet their effectiveness is dependent upon the perceptions of their caregivers and community. College students will be the next generation of parents, and their perceptions of technology will influence how they raise their children.


This research was supported by the Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

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