Is Technology Bringing Families Closer Together?

In the New York Times profile of one gadget-obsessed family, they paint a picture of four screen-gazing zombies together in their living room who choose to interact with their iPad, laptop, iPhone and gaming console, respectively, rather than each other. But as the scene tries to convince us that technology is killing family time, we can't help but respectfully disagree.

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In a New York Times article, Quality Time, Redefined, we get a peek into one New York family's living room one random Wednesday in March.

"Ms. Vavra, a cosmetics industry executive in Manhattan, looked up from her iPad, where she was catching up on the latest spring looks at Refinery29.com, and noticed that her husband, Michael Combs, was transfixed, streaming the N.C.A.A. men's basketball tournament on his laptop. Their son, Tom, 8, was absorbed by the Wii game Mario Kart on the widescreen television. Their daughter, Eve, 10, was fiddling with a game app called the Love Calculator on an iPod Touch."

They're the modern family, and they're practically zombies, right? Not quite.


Technology Brings You Together

Since when are we blaming iPads and the Nintendo Wii for killing family time?

While the story paints a picture of a disconnected family, we gadget-minded folk can only think about how wonderful it is that this family can afford to keep such an awesome array of family-building gadgetry.

That iPad that mom is shopping with is also the same one they used to video chat with FaceTime on Grandma's birthday. And the Wii that's keeping Tom so busy was used last week for the family's Wii Sports bowling tournament, an activity that brought them all together and keeps the kids and their parents active.

The Vavra family's array of gear isn't a distraction at all. They're tools that have helped keep families playing and talking together, closer than ever before.


At Least They're In The Same Room

But maybe the family profiled in the New York Times story really aren't making an effort to use technology to bring them together. As the author says, maybe they're in a "cyber-cocoon."

But at least they're in the same room. The kids aren't out until dark wandering the neighborhood. The daughter of the family isn't upstairs in her room, tying up the family's main phone line. They're together. The fact that technology has evolved to be so portable means that families don't have to physically separate when mom wants to shop, Billy wants to play games and dad wants to watch baseball. They can stay in the same room, chatting and joking with each other and making more quality family time than before.



via Gizmodo, NYTimes.com

(Images: Flickr member lyzadanger licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member Ben Spark licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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Taryn is a writer, maker, and designer in Atlanta, Georgia. Living in an apartment with her husband and their Boston Terrier, Bacon, she loves to entertain and hates having a tiny kitchen.