Cell Phones Bring Families Closer Together

According to a new poll published by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, American families are just as, if not more, tight-knit than in previous generations. Part of the reason for this? Technology.

Instead of weakening family ties as was feared, technology has brought us closer together by letting us chat, email, and text family even when we’re away from home.

"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. "We found just the opposite."

In the poll, 60% of the adults surveyed did not feel that new technologies had any effect on the closeness of their family, while 25% said that technologies such as cell phones and other forms of online communication brought their families closer together. Only 11% said that the technology had a negative effect on their families. The families surveyed included “traditional nuclear families,” including 482 adults who were married or living together with minor children.

Wellman said families appreciated the innovations because "they know what each other is doing during the day." This, he said, comports with his other research, which shows that technology "doesn't cut back on their physical presence with each other. It has not cut down on their face time."

Of course, results are sure to vary from one family to the next. Many families in the poll felt family life and family dinners were a priority, showing that face time is still valuable. That is, of course, unless you’re texting at the dinner table.