The Effect of the Information Age on Family Values

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  • Topic: Family, Communication, International Communication Association
  • Pages : 7 (2955 words )
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  • Published : August 18, 2008
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The Effect of the Information Age on Family Values
By Dennis M. Parker

The Effect of the Information Age on Family Values
The world might be increasingly reliant on high-tech gadgets and new-media information sources, but, contrary to popular belief, that has only seemed to strengthened traditional family values. What we need to realize is that “traditional family values” is a very hard thing to define, because it means different things depending on different families’ traditions. “The Family” idealized by many of the voices in the family-values wars does not exist -- rather, families assume many shapes and forms, and all family types have strengths as well as vulnerabilities. Americans have still not come to terms with the gap between the way we think our families ought to be and the complex, often messy realities of our lives—or as John Gillis puts it, in his new book A World of Their Own Making, the gap between the families we live with and the symbolic families we "live by." Wikipedia (2006) defines Family values as a political and social concept or term that has been used in various nations across the world to describe a set of moral beliefs in society specifically in response to the perception by social or religious conservatives of declining morality within that nation itself. The term is vague in its precise definition as many different groups have claimed that it means different things. As such, "family values" has been described as a political buzzword or power word. In that, please note that most information contained within this paper is conjecture and personal views. What do we value? What do we hold dear? What, in the end, are we willing to give our lives for? That is not an idle metaphysical question. Each day we make decisions about work, family, home, office, career, and self that defines who we are and what we cherish. Those who insist that there is a decline in family values fail to realize that the world we live in has changed dramatically in the last 50 years alone. With life comes change and what most value, while in no way the same for everyone, has changed as well. Thusly “traditional family values” as it refers to families, living entities, change as well. The pictures Norman Rockwell painted about family life in those times do not hold up in today’s massive digital media playground we live in today. Here are some of the nitty-gritty details of a survey that was recently conducted by Yahoo and ad agency OMD to determine if people who own and use computers, cell phones, and other tech gadgets still feel that spending time with their family is important: •Seventy-three percent of ”wired” families with children responded that they felt daily family dinners were important •Eight out of 10 adult respondents (including those who were unmarried and/or did not have children) felt that spending time with their families was enjoyable •Seventy percent of respondents said that technology helps them stay in touch with family •Over half of younger respondents (between the ages of 18 and 34) said technology isn’t just helpful, but necessary to stay in touch with family •Twenty-five percent of respondents with children said that instant messaging–a mode of communication many think is restricted to the MySpace generation–helped them keep in touch with their kids “The study surveyed more than 4,500 families with Internet access, covering a total of 16 countries in the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe. Participants were asked questions on topics ranging from time spent together as a family to the number of gadgets owned by the household.” (McCarthy, 2006) Today’s family is not the Cleavers of the 1950s or the futuristic Jetsons. Today's men cook, women work, and kids often are very tech-savvy. However, Jupiter Research analyst Emily Reilly says, “Whether or not technology has created a more nuclear family, or a family with more traditional values, is probably almost impossible to...
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