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Survey: Modern technology unites and divides Irish households

The survey also showed almost half of respondents cite sleeping next to a mobile phone as giving them a better night’s sleep.

File photo
File photo
Image: Steve White/The Canadian Press/Press Association Images

MODERN TECHNOLOGY BOTH unites and divides families in Ireland, according to a survey by Eircom. Some 80 per cent of people believe that technology has a positive impact on Irish households, though figures show it can also be a cause of conflict and confusion in a family.

The Eircom Household Sentiment Survey shows 27 per cent of people think technology is helping us keep in touch while 17 per cent believe it brings family and friends together.

Demonstrating the impact of technology’s encroachment on family life, more than half of respondents in the survey said families now spend more time on different tech devices when they are together and 67 per cent believe technology causes arguments in the home.

Commenting on the results, clinical psychologist David Coleman, who worked on the Eircom survey, said family aspirations of bonding in a traditional way, around a board game for example, do not match today’s reality.

“The most common scenario is the family all together, but interacting with separate pieces of technology,” he said. “So someone may be on the laptop someone else is playing a computer game, while the iPad or Kindle may be engaging someone else.”

Results show men and women have differing opinions on the ‘rules of engagement’ with 46 per cent of men believing it is accepable to “text a colleague after work hours or at the weekend” compared to 36 per cent of women.

A staggering 73 per cent of 16-24 year olds admit to sending or receiving a text they have not understood and 46 per cent of all people surveyed admitted to misinterpreting texts received or having their own texts misinterpreted.

The survey showed the increasing use of ‘text speak’ and acronyms among the tech savy generation is a cause of confusion amongst the older demographic.

Technology is also a source of added security in Irish homes with 46 per cent of respondents claiming to sleep better with a mobile phone next to their bed, compared to 21 per cent who cite an alarm as giving them a better sleep at night.

Coleman added that while technology in some cases causes arguments or allows work to encroach more on home life, “most people feel happier that modern technology helps them keep in touch with their friends and family and also makes them feel safer.”

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