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The Long-Term Effects of Technology on Family Time

Splashed across the front page of The New York Times today was an article that followed a tech-addicted family (seriously, the dad sleeps with his iPhone or laptop. I thought only teenagers did that). But it's not just dad who's guilty -- mom and the kids, too, are constantly online, gaming, or texting.

The crux of the article is about how the use of technology actually makes us worse at multitasking, not better. If you've got your Facebook, email, Twitter, web surfing and Skype windows open all at once, well, only one of those things can actually hold your full attention. While the human brain is wired to adapt to the new way we receive information -- in short bursts -- only about 3 percent of the population -- called "supertaskers" -- can handle multiple streams of information.

But the saddest part: it was clear how spending time online interfered with the family's together time. The dad flaked out on trip to the aquarium to check his email, but was later found playing video games. And there's a photo of the mom and dad at breakfast, both hunched over their iPads. (More reason to ditch the tube on weeknights!)

As someone who checks email multiple times before I even get into the office, I found this article to be a much-needed awakening. I'll definitely be digging into the paperback I tote around on the train ride tonight, rather than surfing the web on my phone -- and testing my focus and multitasking when I get home.

Parents, has technology ever interfered with your family time?