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Technology at the heart of family life
Our first ever O2 Digital Families report, released today, reveals just how important technology is for UK households. So important in fact that most of the families we spoke to would rather cut down on food and utility bills than their internet connection!
We commissioned the study to mark the launch of the O2 Joggler and understand just how many gadgets are in UK homes, as well as what impact technology is having on families.
A nation of gadget obsessives
The research found that 40% of UK families now spend 10% of their household budget on gadgets (which we estimate at £3,000 per year).
The average UK home now has:
- 2.4 TVs
- 1.6 computers
- 2.4 games consoles
- 3 mobile phones
- 2.2 MP3 players
Based on their attitudes to technology, we identified four distinct family profiles:
- The Leaders – excited by technology, find it easy to use, use it extensively and are true believers in the way it helps families communicate.
- The Resistors: more hesitant about technology, despite having lots of mobile phones, games consoles and TVs in the house.
- The Followers: excited by technology but take a pragmatic approach to the things that they buy and the role it plays in family life.
- The Drifters: base their technology attitudes, purchasing decisions and usage around what the kids want.
Despite claims that our ‘BlackBerry’ culture makes maintaining a healthy work-life balance difficult, the report suggests otherwise. One in three parents claim access to email and the internet on the move makes it easier to balance work and family responsibilities – only 6% said it made it harder.
Bringing families together
Our research also shows how technology can bring families together. Rather that the stereotype of kids locked away in their rooms playing computer games, over half the families we spoke to said they play games consoles together as a family. Over a third of parents surf the net with their children and one in five parents even keep in touch with their families through social networks.
60% of parents claim that ‘technology such as email and mobile phones helps us communicate better as a family’. Moreover, 79% say that mobile phones have made organising family life easier. The report concludes that digital technology plays a positive part in fostering family ties because it frees up the day for the families to spend together.