Decline in Family Time

My dad and I are about to drive North this afternoon, preparing for a workshop we teach tomorrow. As we were updating some of our research, my dad sent me the following article about the rapid decrease in family time (one of our “Seismic Shifts” we teach from our book is the shift from “community to individualism”).

Whether it’s around the dinner table or just in front of the TV, U.S. families say they are spending less time together.

The decline in family time coincides with a rise in Internet use and the popularity of social networks, though a new study stopped just short of assigning blame.

The Annenberg Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California is reporting this week that 28 percent of Americans it interviewed last year said they have been spending less time with members of their households. That’s nearly triple the 11 percent who said that in 2006.

These people did not report spending less time with their friends, however.

Michael Gilbert, a senior fellow at the center, said people report spending less time with family members just as social networks like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace are booming, along with the importance people place on them.

Click here for the entire article.

Interesting article. Although we’ve found more and more research that people are actually spending less “face to face” time with friends too. They’re trying to replace that void with cyber relationships… and coming up empty.

The above article goes on to talk of the rising concern about how much time kids spend online. I’ll be blogging about this a lot this year. I spend quite a bit of time talking about these shifts in my book coming out this December, CONNECT.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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2 Responses to Decline in Family Time

  1. Tonya Berry says:

    Yes, I am continuously trying to get my husband to understand that sitting with our backs to each other in the ‘computer room’ while both surfing the internet, is not “quality time”!


    He’s workin’ on it though!

  2. Patrick Garrett says:

    Jon; Thanks for continuing to probe the depths of this phenomenon in our time ~ relational ministry has never been so effected, (note to Jim Burns). I’m really looking forward to the book in December … you have alluded a few times to what it will cover; it’s gonna be just as insightful as its predecessors.