Ten years ago, a good old family dinner meant just what it sounds like - A family eating dinner together, enjoying the company of one another, talking, laughing, smiling, and catching up on each other's lives over a home-cooked meal.
This same scenario, updated with 21st century technology, can mean less conversation, distracted and wandering minds, and even teenagers texting under the table or sneaking iPod earbuds into their ears, so that no one is completely focused on personal interaction of each other anymore. Not to mention the meal was likely frozen before it was popped in the oven or microwave for a 5-minute defrost.
The divide caused in families by technology and the "easy way" of living is astounding. Yes, it is true that cell phones and email help them stay in communication with each other, but it also causes the entire concept of "communication" to take on a whole new meaning. Communication via technology leads to shorter conversations and less enjoyment of each other's physical presence, two things that should be cherished in society, not demeaned.
Technology also provides innumerably more distractions on each family member's mind while spending time with others, so that not only in family life but in daily interaction the mind is never "all there" anymore. Dad is thinking about the business calls and angry emails he has to deal with later, mom is wondering when her strawberries on the Facebook application Farmville will be ripe (you may laugh, but it's not all that far from the truth nowadays), and the kids are nodding their heads to the beat in their iPod headphones and wondering who commented on their Myspace pictures or who they are currently texting and what they will say back.
Even cherished, well-remembered, "my favorite childhood memory" family game nights have been invaded with movies instead of games and consistent networking, texting, emailing, etc. throughout the night. It is such a distraction that rarely can a family sit together in the living room playing Trouble or Sorry without dismissing themselves occasionally to deal with some distraction caused by another piece of technology, or at least wanting to.
Families were truly not meant to be connected in this way. They were meant to talk, to plan out who is picking up which kid before they left the house, to set curfews and remember to abide by them, and to communicate. Technology does not bring families apart, it divides them.