The media and family communication

Barbara J. Wilson, Kristin L. Drogos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Communication technologies permeate the homes of American families today. The average child lives in a household with four television sets, two radios, three DVD or VCR players, two CD players, two video game consoles, and two computers (Rideout, Foehr, & Roberts, 2010). Moreover, children spend over seven and a half hours each day using these media (Rideout et al., 2010). In many American homes, the television occupies a central space in the main gathering area, often accompanied by a surround-sound system and other technologies to heighten the quality and realism of the viewing experience. Given their prominence, the media are clearly an integral part of the daily routines of family life. Families eat meals around the television set, parents read the newspaper comics to young children, and siblings gather together to watch a rented movie on a DVD player. But the media can be used to avoid family interactions as well. The purpose of this chapter is to explore the relationship between media technologies and family communication. To illustrate how multi-faceted this relationship is, consider the following example of a six-year-old girl entering her parents' bedroom one morning before school.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Family Communication
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781136946370
ISBN (Print)9780415881982
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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