Families are turning to tech to communicate, study says

One in three families regularly use smartphones or tablets to talk to each other when they are in the same house, research from Microsoft Advertising has found.

Families are turning to tech to communicate, study says

Thirty per cent of families surveyed said they use the devices to let each other know when dinner is ready or ask for help with homework.

Nineteen per cent often use social networks to communicate with family members when they are at home, while 17 per cent use text or instant messaging and 9 per cent opt to use video calls instead of talking face-to-face.

The Families study, which was carried out by the research agency Sparkler on behalf of Microsoft Advertising, questioned 1,517 families on how they use internet-enabled devices at home.

A conversation between siblings is more likely to take place through a device than communication between parents and children.

More than half (53 per cent) of siblings said they often use instant messaging or text messages to communicate with brothers and sisters, while 31 per cent use social networks.

Video chats are also more popular among siblings than for intergenerational communication: 16 per cent of siblings use the medium.

Tim Lumb, a research manager at Microsoft Advertising, said the study gave advertisers "plenty to think about".

"Just a few years ago, texts, Facebook posts and video calls were reserved for making contact with people who couldn’t be reached through traditional communication," he said. "Parents are embracing new technologies as a way of bringing added convenience to day-to-day tasks.

"We also found that the use of multiple devices are bringing families together, with the living room once again acting as a central hub."

The average UK family home contains ten devices, according to the research, with six of these connected to the internet. The most common devices are laptops, smartphones and games consoles. Fifty-two per cent of families own a tablet.

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