Tech Families Embrace Traditional Values?

A new study of more than 4,500 families in the U.S. and internationally conducted by Yahoo and media communications firm OMD finds that families are using modern technology to help manage busy lives and reinforce what could be seen as "traditional" values such as shared meals and spending time with family.

The survey found that the "average" global family owns 11 technological devices (the average jumps to 12 in the United States), but that some 70 percent of global respondents found that technology helps them stay in touch with their family. Some 209 percent of parents said they use mobile phones to stay in touch with their children throughout the day, and once quarter of global parents said instant messaging has actually helped improve communication with their children.

The survey also found that families’ lives are jam-packed with activity, with the average U.S. family listed more than 43 hours of daily activities (across all family members), including time spent sleeping, eating, commuting, and working, as well as time spend with email, messaging, using media players, and watching TV.

As an information source, the Internet has taken over as the top choice as a source of news and information on travel, jobs, cars, and finance, and two thirds of U.S. families say they use the Internet to research products, and 64 percent say they use an Internet search engine every day. Between 60 and 62 percent of U.S. familiars also use the Internet to research health topics, make travel reservations, and share photographs.

More than half (56 percent) of survey respondents aged 18 to 34 said they wouldn’t be able to stay in touch with friends and family without technology; some 34 percent of the same age group said their social lives would suffer without technology, and 36 percent said technology has helped them overcome shyness.

Similarly, 56 percent of parents said the Internet has helped children with schoolwork, and 61 percent said the Internet has exposed their children to a broad range of cultures.

"The study shows that regardless of their size or composition, today’s families value time-honored traditions like dining together, and they’re using technology to help manage busy, family-centered lives," said Wenda Harris Millard, Yahoo chief sales officer, in a release. "Technology is essential to family life, not because people love gadgets, but because it helps them do what they want to do."

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

Even older Apple Watches could be effective at spotting heart conditions

The Apple Watch Series 4 is known for detecting heart conditions like atrial fibrillation thanks to having an electrocardiograph feature. It turns out that older Apple Watches could be effective at tracking AFib, too.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Cars

Nearly 3 in 4 Americans are reportedly afraid of self-driving cars, study says

The latest AAA consumer survey finds most Americans fear self-driving cars. Few people would trust autonomous vehicles to transport people they care about. However, 53 percent of consumers think most cars will be fully autonomous by 2029.
Smart Home

Amazon knocks down the price on the second-generation Echo smart speaker

Amazon just knocked down the price of the second-generation Echo smart speaker with Alexa by 25 percent. The Echo can answer questions, control smart home devices, fill a room with music with its Dolby speakers, and make hands-free calls.
Smart Home

Smeg Dolce and Gabbana small appliances make an art gallery of your kitchen

Spice up your kitchen with Smeg's Dolce and Gabbana-styled Sicily Is My Love collection. Following its introduction of Sicilian-themed major appliances, the Italian collaborators added countertop devices with traditional icons and images.
Smart Home

Whatever happened to those dumb smart products we wrote about in 2017?

A smart salt dispenser? As manufacturers rush to get the next new smart item out there, we wonder if all these new inventions are really necessary. Here’s a list of 10 of the quirkiest home smart gadgets available, and where they are now.
Smart Home

Sign up for Amazon’s Prime Book Box and get an Echo Dot Kids Edition for $1

Do your kids like books? Sign up for Amazon's Prime Book Box for kids through March 26 and you can get an Echo Dot Kids Edition for just $0.99. The Prime Book Box includes two to four books, delivered every one, two, or three months.
Smart Home

Ikea isn’t throwing shade with the delayed release of its smart blinds

Ikea planned to release is Tradfri-compatible smart blinds in April 2019, but the products have been delayed until later in the year for a firmware update that promises better functionality.
Smart Home

Lutron’s Fan Control makes ceiling fans smart, but has some turnoffs

Lutron recently came out with a smart switch that controls ceiling fans, the Lutron Caseta Fan Speed Control Switch. How does it stack up? Here's a first-hand review of the Lutron Fan Control switch.
Cars

Amazon and Kia team up to simplify EV home-charging station installs

Kia Motors announced a new program with Amazon for electric vehicles. Customers planning to purchase a new Kia EV or PHEV can check out recommended Level 2 240-volt home charging stations and arrange installation in their homes.
Smart Home

Traeger’s latest wood-pellet grills are smoky, smart, and spacious

Traeger is famous in the world of barbecue and heavy-duty grills for its signature pellet grills and now the company is expanding this year by adding three new brands of redesigned
Smart Home

The five best teeth-whitening kits you can buy on Amazon

Teeth whitening can have a major impact on a person’s smile and overall appearance. You don't necessarily have to go to the dentist to get your teeth whitened though. Here are the best teeth-whitening kits you can buy.
Smart Home

Is your Keurig making gross coffee? Might be time for a cleaning

No one likes a dirty, scaled, or smelly Keurig, but how are you supposed to clean them? Before you throw yours out the window, here is a quick guide on cleaning your machine out thoroughly.