Posted by: Jen J. Ashley | May 2, 2011

Electronics: Bringing Families Together or Apart?

On April 29, 2011 The New York Times posted an interesting article called “Quality Time, Redefined” Bascially the article describes a not-so-out-of-the-ordinary scenario of a family sitting in a living room together and all of them not communicating. All of them were staring at some sort of different screen. In my experience, getting all of my immediate family under one rough is difficult. After accomplishing that task how do you get everyone “unplugged”. Is electronics getting in the way of families?

Some say yes. If a family in a room are all concentrating on what is going on their particular screen, how can they interact? If a child is constantly waiting for a text message how can they actively participate in a conversation? If a little boy is enamored with is video game is he really listening? You can be in a room and not hear anything at all.

On the other hand, some argue that technology has brought families closer together. Speaking from my own personal experience, I would not talk to my family half as much as I do without social media and electronic devices. Most of my family lives on the east coast and without Facebook we would never speak! I now speak to them all monthly. Also if it was not for text messaging my mother and I would communicate about half as much as we do. Without Skype I would have had a difficult time with having a relationship with my boyfriend while he was in Germany. For me personally, electronics have brought me closer to my loved ones.

Should children be relying on technology this much? I personally do not believe so. Part of my love for school when I was younger was because I got to see all my friends. I went home, visited with my family and looked forward to the next day. Having the lack of electronics was important for socializing at school for me. I am torn on the issue that electronics are bad for all ages of family members but both size have reasonable arguments. I guess it is just up to each family to decide for themselves what is right and acceptable in the household.


  1. I read this on the New York Times too! I thought it was really interesting. It’s crazy to think about how much communication has changed in the last 10 or 15 years. The only way I talk to my grandparents is through email, and otherwise I would probably only talk to them on holidays. My dad lives in China and I only can talk to him though email or Skype. I even met my baby sister and step-mom through Skype! Talk about family bonding through technology!

    It’s just totally crazy all the opportunities these communication technologies bring. The original article brought up how many people said that after books were widely distributed the family dynamic was broken. No one was paying attention to household duties, family rituals, etc. Things were changing too fast, and too much information was available. More people could afford them, learn to read, and get new ideas. Isn’t that an interesting comparison? All of that just seems to be the nostalgia of what the good old days used to be. People say that it was such a simpler time before text messaging, before emails, and before wireless internet, and maybe that’s true. However, today no one would say those things about books, and maybe in a few hundred years (probably less) people will not see the advent of these technologies as disruptive or harmful to the development of families and children.

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