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Surprising Science

How Media Made the iFamily

Are the modern media damaging domestic life? Current studies demonstrate a more complicated picture of a modern family that changes modern media itself.

Families 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. How can these patterns of usage be indicators, as well as causes, of social change?


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