Thursday, February 05, 2004

Overall, this article gives a brief description about the history of computers in U.S. households. However, I always have small questions.
1. Why did the authors divide three eras like that on page 260? In other words, is there a special reason that 1984 and 1994 were transition points (years)?

2. On page 265, it is said that “the stand-alone home computer gave household members personal control in their pursuit of entertainment and self-improvement.” How do you think about “personal control” through home computer? Don’t you think people are getting become subordinate to the computer as an unavoidable technology rather than a personal control tool?

3. Why and how did the gender gap in access to home computing close after 1989? What is the reason that the gender gap in the use of the Internet is disappearing? How are males and females different in terms of online activities and stand-alone activities?

4. How do you think about that the home computer strengthens or weakens family ties comparing to TV? In my opinion, the home computer doesn’t increase family ties or interaction. Rather, it decreases them. However, in some part, it can increase family ties or interaction. For example, the computer and the Internet connect the family members who live in separately, specially in a long distance such as abroad.

5. The authors show a research on page 271 that “the time spent using a home computer in part displaces television viewing but not reading books, newspapers, and magazines.” However, if the using a home computer includes the using the Internet which is connected to a home computer, it can also displace reading newspapers or magazines. How do you think about this point?

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