How Technology is Influencing Families

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Monday, May 23, 2011

How Technology is Influencing Families

Barna Group recently completed a study about the influence of technology in families and finds the digital age is affecting more than how America communicates. It is also shaping parent-child relationships in striking new ways.

Highlights from the study included the following five findings:

1. Parents are just as dependent on technology as are teens and tweens.
Parents are spending nearly the same amount of time per day as their tween and teen-aged kids consuming media and using various digital technologies.

2. Most family members, even parents, feel that technology has been a positive influence on their families.
Most families welcome technology and media with open arms, rather than with suspicion.

3. Very few adults or youth take substantial breaks from technology.
One out of three parents and nearly half of 11- to 17-year-olds say there are not any specific times when they “make the choice to disconnect from or turn off technology so they can have a break from it.”

4. Families experience conflict about technology, but not in predictable ways.
Parents and youth are most disappointed by technology because it is “so expensive to get the latest,” not because of the unwanted content or the isolation it can bring.

5. Few families have experienced—or expect—churches to address technology.
Most parents and tweens/teens have not heard any kind of teaching in a church, religious setting, or public forum (like a school) about how families can best use media, entertainment or technology.

Source: Barna Group