Publication Details

Kennedy-Eden, H. (2014). Do smart phones bring us closer? A family life and vacation perspective. In R. Baggio, M. Sigala, A. Inversini & J. Pesonen (Eds.), Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism: eProceedings of the ENTER 2014 PhD Workshop in Dublin, Ireland (pp. 27-32). Ireland: ENTER.


Relationships developed in families are crucial because these bonds play an integral part in learning how to function and interact in society. In the past, these bonds were strengthened by spending leisure time together as a family but now smart phone technology provides opportunities for individual entertainment, connecting on social media, and spending time physically together while being emotionally separated. This research looks at this issue from a systems theory perspective, conceptualizing families as open, self-regulating social systems with the smart phone being a technical system within the family system. The smart phone acts as a conduit between immediate family members and to friends, family, and social networks and information beyond. The main research question relates to analysing interactions within such a socio-technical family system. A secondary question entails how the interactions with smart phones play out in two different environments, the everyday family life and the family vacation.

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