Jimmy is alone in his bedroom killing orcs, while his sister Olivia updates her Facebook page in her room. Dad is shopping for hunting gear at hunttheoutdoors.com, while Mom, sequestered in the home office, is finishing up an overdue sales report for work. Long gone are the days when families gathered nightly around the dinner table or the electronic hearth to watch NBC, CBS, or ABC. Right?
Not necessarily. This vision of a disconnected, media-saturated home life misses technology's many positive effects on family togetherness, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.
The Pew survey found that married couples with minor children have higher rates of Internet and cell phone usage, computer ownership, and broadband adoption than other kinds of households. The survey also found that 25 percent of respondents believed that, thanks to communications technology, their family is closer today than back when they were growing up. Sixty percent said digital advancements made no difference in family connectedness, while just 11 percent said their family today is not as close as families in the past.
Finally, 70 percent of spouses in couples where both partners had cell phones called to say hello or chat daily, and 47 percent called their kids daily. Reaching out and touching someone, as AT&T urged Americans to do nearly 30 years ago, has never been easier.