Technology plays a major role in hindering family relationships. It profoundly affects the family by decreasing family time, reducing socialization, and face-to-face interaction. Technological advancements are transforming the ways families interact. Media and other forms of technology are creating a divide in the family as children are viewing “division” as independence and freedom from their parent’s intrusion in their social lives. On the other hand, parents are also immersed in their own technological lives rather than trying to connect with their children. Hence, technology is destroying the parent – child relationship and reducing communication among family members. The technology is also filling the gaps in many people’s lives. It is slowly becoming an inescapable tool as more and more people are finding it hard to live without technology. Nevertheless, technology is also changing family habits and disturbing family time. Children are discovering their own ways of entertainment and parents are getting busy with their own lives ranging from watching T.V to talking on the phone. This results in family members spending less time with each other and more time with technology. The topics that will be covered in this paper will include an overview of family disputes due to technology, negative impact of technology on family time, and finally, the effects of media on family socialization. The information covered will be a combination of scholarly journals as well as informative magazine articles that will go more in depth to explain the effect of technology on family relationships as well as provide some factual-based information. The majority of these journals and articles are Canadian, however some research is based in U.S in order to compare American families with Canadian families. Though, technology is rapidly increasing, research is still required to critically analyze and evaluate the grave effects of technology on individuals and their interaction within families. This paper will provide a general overview of the impact of technology on family socialization which will contribute to a thorough understanding of the dominance of technology on families. It will also reveal how human beings are puppets of technology and it’s capability of destroying family relationships. Thecommon trends found in the scholarly journals and magazine articles was that most of the authors believed that technology was an uprising factor for family disputes and that family life is distancing due to the lack of communication and interaction among family members. All of the authors either conducted a survey, sample or a study to prove their point so that evidence can show how realistic and serious the problem is. Another common trend found was that they all listed the pros and the cons of using technology. Also, all the authors agreed upon the fact that technology causes more harm than benefit. Gaps would occur in the research as some scholarly articles were not as detailed as some of the other sources. They would provide an overview of the negative impact of technology on Canadian families but no go in depth to explain how. They also would only provide a brief amount of information in regards to the subtopic it was used for. However, these sources provided a common perspective on the topic of negative impact of technology on family dynamics as many included their own study, samples, and surveys to explain their motive as well as demonstrate to the readers about the accuracy of their information. The various perspectives people had regarding technology was really interesting as they all had different outlooks towards it and diverse opinions on whether technology use at home should be restricted or only be allowed prior to rules. All the sources provided negative viewpoints towards technology, however the way that each article or journal flowed caused it to vary from one another. In addition to this, all the sources were against technology as for its bad effect on family socialization and quality time, but the way they argued their point by combing their perspective and the perspective of the people they surveyed, sampled or studied made the journals and the articles fascinating to read. Currently, the research surrounding technology demonstrates that it influences family life negatively.
Effect of Technology on Family Socialization:
Family socialization is severely affected due to the inappropriate use of technology by family members. Socialization in a family is important because it builds a stronger bond, teaches each member about their values, norms, beliefs, and helps them realize the support and guidance they have throughout their lifetime. Family is the most important part in an individual’s life. If someone believes in spending more time with artificial intelligence than with their family because they believe that technology is way cooler than their family and that it can help them gain more freedom and independence, then one will suffer later on in life. They will feel lack of love, support, and guidance throughout their life, especially during their hard times. Absence of communication can create blurred lines in a parent and a child’s relationship. The ramifications of the distancing that occurs due to the mix of technology with family socialization are profound. The less interaction leads to less connection and it also becomes very hard for families to build strong relationships. The sources that will be analyzed for this subtopic include two detailed and informative articles in regards to excessive use of technology creating a family divide, as well as one scholarly journal regarding technology’s effects on Canadian families.
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The first article, Is Technology Creating a Family Divide by Dr. Jim Taylor discusses how the more time individuals spend on technology the farther away they get from their family life (Taylor, 2013). The next article, Technoference: How Technology Can Hurt Relationships by Brandon McDaniel outlines the damage that technology causes when it comes in between of relationships (McDaniel, 2015). The final article examined is a scholarly journal in regards to this subtopic, Family Time Losing Out to Technology: study by Shannon Proudfoot. This article analyzes the Canadian families and the impact of technology on their lives (Proudfoot, 2007). All of the articles are fairly similar in regards to their points mentioned and information covered. Taylor proves his point by providing evidence from his own study that agrees with this point:
Some parents use Facebook to keep track of their children’s coming and goings. Other parents friend their children as a means of feeling closer to them. So what is their children’s reaction to being “friends” with their parents? An informal survey I conducted of dozens of teenagers found that the dominant reaction can best be characterized as “EEEWWW!” Most children don’t want their parents to be their “friends” or their friends, for that matter.
The author shows how the parents are not able to interact with their children face to face, so they decide to follow them on their social media. However, through this research Taylor figures out that most of the kids were disgusted by their parent’s disruption in their social lives. Also, he proved that children want independence to such an extent that they hate any type of ‘interference’ from their parents in their normal and social lives. Similarly, the other two authors also agree with their findings. McDaniel believes that technology destroys relationship, and the survey that he conducted also agrees with his belief:
My colleague Sarah Coyne and I set out to try to capture at least a little bit of what I termed “technoference”: “everyday intrusions or interruptions in couple interactions or time spent together that occur due to technology.” We were able to sample 143 married/cohabiting women. Each woman reported how often certain devices, like cell or smartphones, tablets, computers, and TVs, interrupted interactions she had with her husband or partner. The women also rated how often specific technology interruption situations occurred, such as a partner sending text messages to others during the couple’s face-to-face conversations or getting on his phone during mealtimes. Overall, about 70% of the women in our sample said that cell/smartphones, computers, or TV interfered in their relationship with their partner at least sometimes or more often.
The author makes his point clear about technology being one of the main causes of “interruption” between relationships but also supports his opinion with evidence. On the other hand, Proudfoot also agrees with her finding as she herself emphasizes that technology can leave an individual isolated and force them to spend more time with technology rather than with their family: “Liyu Guo’s Toronto family has “way too many” electronic devices, she says: three TVs, two computers, three cellphones, several DVD players and video game systems. She worries about the time her eight-year-old son and 17-year- old daughter spend with these gadgets” (Proudfoot, 2007). She uses the “Liyu Guo’s family” as an example to support her view and outlook on Canadian families and their interaction with technology.
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Proudfoot’s article suggests that technology can be helpful in juggling busy schedules and keeping members in touch with each other, but it can also be over-stimulated and time-crunched (Proudfoot, 2007). McDaniel and Taylor’s article also discuss this similar controversy as they mention that technology can be used outside of home for personal use, however, it can become a problem if it interrupts the usual socialization or if the emergence of using technology is so great that it is used excessively wherever the family goes together, for example, in car, at restaurants, etc (Taylor, 2013; McDaniel, 2015). Taylor discusses in his article that “everyone is so busy with work, school, and extracurricular activities, there’s less time for families to spend together” (Taylor, 2013). His article delves into a more in-depth outlook on the technology’s effect on children, their parents and the family’s interaction in total. While, Taylor’s article is more relevant to the overall topic compared to the other two, McDaniel and Proudfoot’s article provides an informative understanding of the impact of technology on couples and Canadian families as well as the role of parents and the duties of each member in the family. The articles include professional definitions in relation to this topic and a rich understanding of technology and its disruption in families (McDaniel, 2015; Proudfoot, 2007). McDaniel’s article focuses on individuals that develop problematic or addictive-like use of technological devices to such a degree that it begins to toll on their relationships (McDaniel, 2015). On the other hand, Proudfoot’s article focuses on the comparison and contrast of Canadian families to American families and their interaction with technology: “Homes are now so crowded with electronic gadgets that family members might not interact even by watching the same TV show or fighting over the computer. The average U.S. home is stocked with 26 different electronic devices, the report says, and there’s no reason to think Canadians are any different” (Proudfoot, 2007). Both McDaniel and Proudfoot’s article focus on objective facts in regards to the technology and family socialization. These articles all provide a great overview of the effect of technology on family interaction, but again, Taylor’s article provides the most diverse and informative outlook in regards to this subtopic.
The research is all very relevant and elicits insightful information. Due to the fact that technology started to rise at the end of twentieth century and its use increased in the twenty first century, negative influence of technology on family is still fairly a new topic, and the majority of research will all be very recent and relevant to the topic. Technology is constantly advancing throughout the years, and so there are always developments happening to make everyone’s lives easier and faster. Developments in this topic are occurring as many researchers are trying to figure out how to reduce the problems related with technology, and how to create more interactive environments in families. Technology developments like automation, artificial intelligence, and many other tech devices are being developed to make the human life better.
With regards to the three sources being analyzed for this specific subtopic, Taylor’s article is the most persuasive. This article provides a very detailed understanding of the way technology is creating a divide in families, the bad effects it has on children’s growth and the dissociation it is causing between parents and their kids. The least persuasive article happens to be Proudfoot’s article that demonstrates the effect of technology on Canadian families. The information presented was very brief and succinct as it only gave facts about the amount and type of people it is affecting in Canada, resulting in a heavy-loaded journal with merely statistics. It did not exactly explain how technology is affecting family interaction and what different types of technological devices are becoming the major reasons for division in Canadian families. Important information was ignored in Proudfoot’s article about the negative impact of technology on family socialization. The article provided more facts rather than focusing on the issue itself. The author could have delved further into the topic to include the type of information that was provided in Taylor’s article. Currently, there are no apparent gaps surrounding the topic of negative impact of technology on family dynamics.
Technology plays a significant role in affecting family life. Individuals should more spend time with family but instead choose their social and technological world’s over their families. Technology destroys family relationships and can even leave them hanging. It has the ability to control an individual’s life without them even being aware of it. Understanding the pros and cons of using technology and its role in families reduces family problems and allows each members to become aware of it. Having technology rules and regulations make it easier for parents to connect with their kids or even two individuals to connect with each other. It is very important to be able to develop a further understanding of this complex topic in relation to the invisible barriers it produces, the disturbance it causes between families and the effects it has on parents and their children. With a deeper understanding, comes a more educated and knowledgeable opinion on the use of technology and its effect on the future of family structures. Technology is inevitable and is forever present, so it is very important to let go of the technology and spend some quality time with family and make some unforgettable memories because the clock is ticking. Technology increases the barriers, lessens the time and most importantly distances an individual from its loved ones.
- McDaniel, B. (2015, January 27). Technoference: How Technology Can Hurt Relationships. Retrieved from https:// ifstudies.org/blog/technoference-how-technology-can-hurt-relationships
- Proudfoot, S. (2007, October 16). “Family Time Losing out to Technology: Study.” The Vancouver Sun, p. A1. Elibrary, explore.proquest.com/elibrary/document/242099087?accountid=13875.
- Taylor, J. (2013, March 15). Is Technology Creating a Family Divide? Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/the-power-prime/201303/is-technology-creating-family-divide
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