Global families today are harnessing pervasive technology and media to help them manage busy households and achieve more balanced, satisfying lives, according to research released today by global Internet company Yahoo! Inc. and OMD, a worldwide media communications specialist.
The Yahoo!/OMD study shows the power of multi-tasking in extending the typical day's activities beyond 24 hours. In the U.S., respondents listed, on average, a total of more than 43 hours of daily activities, including time spent sleeping, working, commuting, as well as technology/media-based activities such as emailing, using an MP3 player, text messaging, and watching TV.
The research project combined results from polling more than 4,500 online families in 16 countries with in-home interviews and scrapbooks tracking media and technology usage by families in seven countries. Consistent themes include a resurgence in traditional values, and recognition that the "always on" nature of technology highlights the need to also focus on low-tech activities such as playing board games and dining together
- Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of families with children said it is important to eat dinner together each day.
- Eight out of 10 adults said they "enjoy spending time with their family." This number increases to nine out of 10 among those married with children.
- Average global family owns 11 technological devices (12 devices in the U.S.), creating concerns about information overload while enabling better communications
- 70 percent of global survey respondents agreed that technology allows them to stay in touch with family
- 29 percent of parents said that they use mobile phones to keep in touch with children throughout the day
- 25 percent of parents said instant messaging has helped improve relationships with their children.
- Only a third (31%) of U.S. parents believe their children fail to spend enough time outdoors or playing sports -- compared to 41% of parents in Taiwan, South Korea and India, and almost two thirds (63%) of parents in China.
"Family 2.0 isn't the Cleavers of the 1950s or the futuristic Jetsons. Today's men cook, women work, and kids often are very tech-savvy," said Michele Madansky, vice president of sales research, Yahoo!. "Father doesn't always know best. He may not have a clue about what MP3 player is the best value, but daughter can be the expert because she has spent time online comparison shopping prices and features."