» Social Effects

Family Dynamics

The proliferation of media sources in the home has had a marked negative effect on family communication and socialization. With each individual, from preschool through adulthood, having the ability to find specific sources to meet her media needs, less time is spent together on common experiences. Parental supervision and guidance of children's media use has always been poor, but it is getting worse. 60 to 70 percent of televisions in America are located in bedrooms, while Internet-accessible computers are frequently placed in isolated spaces such as the bedroom or basement. This is a more localized version of the general concern described above about more specialized media leading to social fragmentation.

A possible area for positive family interaction is that of "help at home." One study has described "the process by which a family member with comparatively high technical skill or enthusiasm, often a teenager, becomes the family guru, makes external support requests, and becomes the person in the family to whom others turn for technical help."12 This would seem to provide further evidence for the value of treating ICTs as family resources, rather than the sole property of specific family members.

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  1. Kiesler, 2000.