Technology Keeps American Families Close, Study Says

Parents and children may rush through their days in different directions, but the American family is as tight-knit as in the last generation — or more so — because of the widespread use of cellphones and the Internet, according to a new poll.In what was described as the first detailed survey of its kind, released today, researchers reported that family life has not been weakened, as many had worried it would, by new technology. Rather, families have compensated for the stress and hurry of modern life with cellphone calls, emails, text messages and other new forms of communication.”There had been some fears that the internet had been taking people away from each other,” said Barry Wellman, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto and one of the authors of the report, published by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. “We found just the opposite.” Internet is no 21st-century boob tube
Remember when you were young and your family used to gather ’round the television eating dinner on TV trays, fixated by programs like M*A*S*H and All in the Family? Chit chat about what happened at school and work was relegated to commercial breaks. And then it was bedtime.Well, it turns out the Internet isn’t exactly following the model of the boob tube in co-opting family discourse, according to a new national survey of 2,252 adults from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.”We were surprised to see that lots of families treat the Internet as a place for shared experiences,” Tracy Kennedy, author of a new report about the survey called “Networked Families,” said in a statement. “They don’t just withdraw from the family to their own computer for private screen time. They pretty regularly say, ‘Hey–look at this!’ to others in the household.”

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