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The social context of home computing

Frohlich, David, Kraut, Robert


Keyword(s): social context; home computing; domestic; technology; family; TV; PC

Abstract: Computer and Internet use in the home does not only depend on the functionality of available software and services. It also depends in a very practical way on how the computer itself is located, managed and shared between family members. These factors constitute the social context of home computing and form the subject of this chapter. We report the findings of a home interview survey with 35 families in Pittsburgh and Boston, in which family members spoke about the practicalities of using a computer and going on-line. The findings show a variety of ways in which the computer is being domesticated to fit into existing patterns of family life, home architecture and parental control. They also point to the significance of introducing a second computer into this situation, and its similarity to introducing a second television. The implications of these findings for the design of home technology is discussed. Notes: Robert Kraut, HCI Institute, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University

34 Pages

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