Chapter 8: Technology Use for Family Communication and Connectivity

8.4 Blog Prompts

In Common Sense Media’s “device-free dinner” research, a news outlet might report the results like this:

  • 51% of parents report that having devices at the dinner table makes them feel disconnected.
  • 35% of parents report that having devices at the dinner table causes arguments.

Examine the study report. Based on this reporting, are these findings correct? Was the study done in a way that gives you confidence in the findings?

This activity is useful for reading research findings. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Look at the central research question. What was the study trying to find out?
  2. Check the method. Based on what they wanted to learn, was their sample representative of the population they reported on? How did they gather the data? Is the method reliable?
  3. Examine how many people were in the total sample (n=867). Then check the reporting of the numbers for each part of the report. How did the news outlet get the percentage reported? Is it representative of the whole sample? If not, which portion is it referring to?
  4. Are there other findings that might have painted a different picture of families, devices, dinner time, and quality time together?
  5. Put on your critical hat, and scrutinize the study.

As a related post, say you were a developer for Commonsense Media and your team was to determine a strategy that would be meaningful to parents. Would you aim toward recommendations and tips on reducing phones during dinnertime? Why? If not, would you have another message for parents?

Based on the data from the videogame industry, many families play games together, and parents see that the time with their children is well spent. Yet parents are also concerned about their children’s exposure to too much screen time and too much violence, two factors likely with the use of videogames. What do we recommend to parents who might be fond of videogames and would like to play them with their children so that use is safe and healthy, as well as fun and a way to connect as a family? How would guidelines vary based on the age of the child?



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Critical Perspectives on Technology and the Family Copyright © 2022 by Susan K. Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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