Are the modern media damaging domestic life? Our new report shows a more complicated pictureby Sonia Livingstone / November 17, 2010 / Leave a comment
Published in December 2010 issue of Prospect Magazine
Photo: Alexis Robert
Reports on the media and family life tend to generate familiar headlines: tales of teenagers glued to Facebook and mobiles; a generational divide packed with anxious questions over what the modern media are “doing” to families. Our new study, Changing Media, Changing Families, published on 17th November, takes a different approach. Families, we argue, have a dynamic relationship with the media, so we must ask not only what effects media have on families, but also how the changes in modern family life are changing media itself.
The quantity of media consumed by families in the last decade has grown vastly. About half of the average teenager’s waking hours are now spent consuming it in some form—a trend that is becoming true of the wider population. And this means the media have shifted from being an incidental part of our private and cultural lives to an increasingly indispensable infrastructure that dominates social relationships, daily timetables and leisure.