October 19, 2008

Networked Families

The Internet and cell phones are now central components of modern family life, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, in its recent study, Networked Families.

According to the study, the traditional nuclear family – two parents and minor children – has the highest rate of technology use, higher than other household types – such as single adults, homes with unrelated adults, or couples without children.

In these networked families, 76% of the spouses use the Internet, as do 84% of their children under age 18. Almost 60% of married-with-children households own two or more computers, and 88% own multiple cell phones.

Such wired families feel more connected with each other through cell phone use and shared Internet experiences. A majority of adults say technology allows their family life today to be as close, or closer, than their families were when they grew up. Part of this may be due to the fact that 25% of those interviewed says that the Internet has diminished the importance of television in their lives.

The connectedness felt by these families is different than in the past, however: Technology-using families are less likely to share meals and less likely to report satisfaction with their leisure time.

In addition, 20% of those interviewed say that that being wired has blurred traditional lines between “work” and “home,” and has resulted in them doing more work from home. And, as people spend more time working, they are less satisfied with the amount of time they can spend on their hobbies or relaxing.

To read the entire Pew report, go to Networked Families.

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