MEDIA IMPLICATIONS FOR THE QUALITY OFFAMILY LIFE
This chapter considers general tendencies in how the commercial media, particularly television, present information and what potential broad effects these media might have on the family. Some of what follows is necessarily speculative. The aim is to stimulate consideration of these ideas, particularly by researchers. Before launching into these ideas, a brief summary of some of my research findings on media use and family life is presented. Complete presentations can be found elsewhere ( Kubey, 1990a, 1990b, 1991a; Kubey & Csikszentmihalyi, 1990).
Since the mid- 1970s, I have used the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) to study media behavior. In the ESM research subjects are given paging devices -- beepers -- and small booklets of self-report forms. Each time we randomly signal the respondents -- usually 6 to 8 times each day for a week -- they fill out a report form telling us where they were, what they were doing, and how they were feeling on a set of standard psychological measures. In this way we obtain behavioral reports as people actually engage in media use. We are also able to compare these reports to all the other things that people do on a daily basis.
One of the things that people do when they watch television is talk -- in one study, talk accounted for roughly 20% of the time adults viewed with