Cambridge University Study Finds UK Families ‘Overwhelmed’ by Technology

Cambridge University Study Finds UK Families ‘Overwhelmed’ by Technology

While new communications technology such as social networks, email and mobile phones are helping to connect  families more than ever — a new study by Cambridge University has revealed one out of three people are ‘overwhelmed’ and want more face-to-face conversation (and by ‘face-to-face’ they don’t mean Skype!).

Contributing meaningful insight to the topic, Professor John Clarkson, director of the Engineering Design Centre at the University of Cambridge and Principal Investigator suggests our mismanagement of communications technology may be at the root of the problem, pointing out “there is much discussion about whether communications technology is affecting us for the better or worse. The research has shown that communications technology is seen by most as a positive tool but there are examples where people are not managing usage as well as they could be – it is not necessarily the amount but the way in which it is used.”

Indeed Professor Clarkson may be on to something. Maybe its not the technology, but our misuse of it. In either case, it’s an important topic for families to consider. And one that makes us think it may be time for us (parents) to come up with a new set guidelines for our family’s use of technology. This is no easy task though, to ask our children to shut down for ‘technology free-time’ when we ourselves often need to be online 24/7.

So is it really any wonder that some feel overwhelmed by communications technology? In the Cambridge University study sponsored by BT, the diaries of 63 families were recorded to find the following.

– 65% of those surveyed in the UK cited face-to-face conversation as their preferred method of communication. And it may come as a surprise that both adults (65%) and children (64%) are of the same opinion.
– 58% said their family would benefit from having technology-free time – meaning a total shutdown: no cellphones, laptops, period.

• Is your family overwhelmed by communications technology? Please share your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page,


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