The internet plays an important role in keeping in touch with loved ones both near and far.
Adults of all ages see the internet as an important tool for maintaining connections with family members, but young people are far more likely than older adults to go online in order to keep in touch with existing friends and make new contacts.
As early and avid adopters of social networking, instant messaging and other social media applications, the internet is a key tool for young people to communicate, meet new friends and keep in touch with old ones:
Cell phones and the internet are seen as positive tools for improving the quality of communications with family members, particularly those who live elsewhere.
7 The internet and cell phones have the greatest positive impact on the quality of communications with family members living elsewhere, and the smallest positive impact on work-related communications. Notably, about half of the respondents in our survey feel that new communication technologies have not had an impact on their communications with household members, family members elsewhere, friends and coworkers. However, only a small percentage of adults feel that these technologies actually decrease the quality of their communications.
Most adults consider their family today to be as close, or closer, than the family they grew up in as children thanks to the internet and cell phones.
Younger Americans, having spent much of their teens and early adulthood in a world of cell phones and internet access, tend to see little difference in the closeness of their current and childhood families. Two-thirds of 18-29 year olds and 62% of 30-49 year olds say that the internet and cell phones have not made much difference in how close their family is now compared with the one they grew up in. This drops to 55% for individuals age 65 or older.