Family dinners replaced by technology

By Sarah Edwards at

Over half of British parents have revealed that they once planned to continue family traditions and habits, but over time technology and busy lifestyles have taken over.
According to research released today, eating at the dinner table is the family tradition most at risk, with families preferring to sit in front of the TV or a computer screen.
A survey has found that eating at the dinner table and reading bedtime stories to children are the family traditions most likely to be replaced by technology, as parents struggle to incorporate such traditions into modern day life.
The survey was carried out by home interiors specialist 2,197 British parents were quizzed about their family traditions, all of whom were aged 18 and over and had stated that they had at least one child under the age of 15 years old.

Initially, all respondents were asked ‘Did you plan to carry on any family traditions and habits with your own family that you were brought up with as a child?’ to which the majority of respondents confessed they ‘had planned to, but hadn’t managed to’ (53%). The remaining respondents either stated that ‘no’ (27%) they had not planned to continue family traditions and habits or they had planned to and succeeded (20%).

All respondents who stated that they had not managed to carry on family traditions and habits were asked why, to which the most common responses were ‘technology has taken over’ (33%) or ‘they didn’t fit with my family and our lifestyle’ (30%).

All respondents were then asked which family traditions they had let slip over time. When provided with a list of possible responses and told to select all that applied, the top five responses were as follows:

Eating around the dinner table – 73%
Bedtime stories – 55%
Travelling games, such as in the car – 43%
Family movie night – 25%
Family board game night – 21%

Of those who stated technology has replaced eating around the dinner table, 57% confessed that their families now sit altogether in front of the TV, while the remaining 43% confessed that their families go into separate rooms in order to watch various programmes on the TV or computer.

According to the poll, of those who stated that they continued family traditions, the top traditions they’d managed to maintain were revealed as ‘weekly meals such as Sunday roasts, fish supper Fridays’ (19%) and ‘attending church’ (10%).

Tara Hall, spokesperson for,said: “Technology is an important part of our lives, but so is spending time with our families, talking, playing and making memories.”