Australia is home to some very modern families… but is digital parenting the way of the future?

Television show ‘Modern Family’ is a comedic take on dysfunctional family life who communicate with their kids through digital parenting, but apparently a lot of the show is relatable to the average Australian family.

One memorable episode of the hit show follows the Dunphys and their kids as they try to improve their communication skills by giving up electronic devices. The final straw comes when these thoroughly modern parents catch the kids using their gadgets at the dinner table!

A new poll released shows that the Dunphys aren’t alone, with half of Aussie parents communicating with their kids digitally – even when they’re in the same house!

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment commissioned researchers to look at how Australian parents communicate with their children in their own modern family set up, with the following being some of the highlights:

  • More than half (54% in rural areas and 59% in cities) of respondents have texted, emailed or used social media during family meals
  • 1 in 10 parents who communicate digitally with their kids say they are forced to, as their children won’t come when called
  • Mums are far more likely to communicate with their kids by text than dads (56% of mums vs 45% of dads) and the split is even more marked when it comes to social media (42% vs 27%)
  • Three quarters (75%) of Aussies believe digital communication brings families closer through the ability to share pictures (54%) and family news (48%).
  • A whooping 3 in 5 (61%) Australians believe that the prevalence of digital communication impacts on family time, although perhaps surprisingly, not always negatively.
  • The findings indicate that 9 in 10 (87%) have peace of mind from always being able to reach their family and three quarters of Aussies believe that digital communication bring families closer together.

A spokesperson from Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney says social media invites people to connect in a way never before possible.

“We can all belong to each other’s world in previously unfathomable ways and this includes the lives of our kids. Not only can we get to know them and their friends in the way they wish to represent themselves, but at times too, they may get a glimpse into our worlds and get a real look at who mum and dad are.”

When it came to social media (Facebook & Twitter) the research found that digital communication with children was most prevalent amongst parents aged 25 to 34, with almost three quarters (73%) of parents in that age group using social networking sites to liaise with their offspring.

And once the time comes for children to leave the nest, nearly a third of parents prefer to communicate with their children using digital platforms, significantly more than the amount who prefer to communicate face-to-face.