Young people, new media and sport
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Wong, Donna Shy Yun
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This thesis investigates how sport is employed in the new media age as mediated sport goes through the liminal phase of new media. Set against the contextual background of recurrent ‘moral panics’ that accompanied each new wave of media innovation, this study aimed to chart young people’s involvement in sport via the use of new media technology. The thesis concentrated on three research issues: access to, uses of, and the displacement effect of new media. Four major forms of new media were included in the study – digital television, the Internet, mobile telephony and video games. The study used a mixed method design of qualitative and quantitative research methods. The data collection was conducted in two phases: survey methods were first used to examine the audience experience of new media sports, and follow-up interviews of young people were then conducted to investigate motives for media choice and the perceived gratifications of new media sport. ‘Uses and Gratifications’ theory was utilised as the theoretical basis for examining user motives. Eight hundred valid responses were obtained from the questionnaire-based survey [a response rate of 94%] and follow-up interviews were conducted with 12 young people [selected purposively among volunteers from the pool of questionnaire respondents]. A key conclusion drawn from this thesis is that the Internet did not displace televised sport. The findings also suggest that the use of new media sport can have positive effects on sport and physical activities participation. Conversely, there was no support for the popular perception that media users participate in sport and physical activities less; many of them were in fact active in the pursuit of sport and physical activities.