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Modern technology is bringing families closer together

A new piece of research is arguing against the belief that modern technology is unsociable and interferes with families spending quality time together.

The research, commissioned by Tesco, found that almost a quarter of Brits surveyed felt better connected to friends and family thanks to gadgets like smartphones, tablets and computers.

27 per cent of us regularly make video calls to conduct more personal long distance chats with friends and family (and 5 per cent admitted to video calling a pet – we’re not sure if our dog would recognise us, or not, but now we want to try it out).

Those over the age of 55 are more likely to make video calls, with 46 per cent of this age bracket engaging in a bit of Skype or similar.

Social networks are, of course, a big part of keeping in touch digitally, and 52 per cent of respondents said they felt better connected with family members they follow on social media. Social networks are no longer the domain of youngsters, with 44 per cent being friends with their parents on Facebook, and 36 per cent are friends with their grandparents.

Overall, Facebook was the top way of keeping in touch with friends and family for 35 per cent of those surveyed, with email second on 24 per cent, and then video calling on 11 per cent.

Tablets are also increasingly being used by multiple family members together, with 42 per cent doing so, and one in ten parents using a slate with their child for education purposes.

Aaron Lee, Head of Connected Products at Tesco, commented: “Technology is sometimes thought to over complicate relationships, but our research shows that 23 per cent of Brits feel better connected to their family and friends than they did 10 years ago, because of the gadgets available to them.”

“We can see that in the way that people increasingly use their tablet with friends and family. It’s become much more of a ‘sociable’ device than it has been in the past and we reckon lots of families are going to be using it in this way over the Christmas holidays.”

These are all fair enough points, but there are still a lot of youngsters (and not-so-youngsters for that matter) with their nose stuck in their phones rather than talking to people from where we’re stood.

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.