More Internet, less family time?

Not necessarily, but while a just-released study doesn’t come out and blame the Internet, one of its lead researchers seems to. The latest release of the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future’s longitudinal survey found that 28% of Americans say they’re spending less time with their families, up from 11% in 2006, according to an Associated Press report in Yahoo Tech. It was citing the 2009 edition of a survey Annenberg (at the University of Southern California) has been conducting annually since 2000. “The decline in family time coincides with a rise in Internet use and the popularity of social networks, though [the] study stopped just short of assigning blame,” the AP reports. However, the respondents “did not report spending less time with their friends.” As for their views of time spent online: In 2000, 11% of the 2,000+ respondents (ages 12 and up) said that family members under 18 were spending too much time online. By 2008, the latest study, that figure had grown to 28%. It also found that higher-income families reported “greater loss of family time” than lower-income ones, and “more women than men said they felt ignored by a family member using the Internet.” Center senior fellow Michael Gilbert does seem to single out the Internet more than other technologies, such as TV and cellphones, as problematic, though, as the AP paraphrases him as saying that the Net “is so engrossing, and demands so much more attention than other technologies, that it can disrupt personal boundaries in ways other technologies wouldn’t have.” Here’s Annenberg’s report page.

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