Society Magazine

Families Are More Connected Than Ever

Posted on the 21 April 2016 by 72point @72hub
Families are more connected than ever
  • New research reveals families are more connected than ever
  • The average British household sends nearly 6,000 texts, 260 emails and spends 37 hours on the phone to each other per year
  • Spending under an hour of face-to-face time together each day without a screen
  • But the appetite for change is there as 80% of families say they know they need to be more active
  • New Highland Spring campaign, fronted by Judy Murray and backed by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), calls on families to spend more time together and get active

The average British household keeps in touch via nearly 6,000 texts, 260 emails and 37 hours on the phone every year, new research reveals.

A study of 2,000 British parents, commissioned by Highland Spring, revealed the extraordinary lengths mums and dads go to in order to stay connected to their families in this digital age, with results showing an average of 416 calls take place between family members over the course of a year lasting just over five minutes on average.

And while families have never been better connected, they spend under an hour of face-to-face time together each day without a screen in sight. Resulting in 68 per cent of the public feeling technology has negatively impacted how active they are as a family.

The Highland Spring study of British family communication and leisure time was conducted to mark the launch of its 'Anywhere for Tennis' campaign this April, fronted by Judy Murray. The campaign aims to inspire British families to spend more time together, get active and adopt healthier hydration habits.

As well as regular emails, families dish out 5,824 texts per year among one another, plus 208 social media posts, links or online messages in a bid to keep track of everyone's routines. Remarkably, six in ten have sent messages or made calls to family members who are within shouting distance of each other, often to relatives in separate rooms of the house.

Yesterday Karen Crowley, from Highland Spring, said: "Our research shows how much digital technology has transformed the way we live, work and communicate as a family in today's fast-paced society.

"There's no doubt that families are more connected than ever before, and whilst we all love that feeling, we should remember to switch off every so often and prioritise the quality of time we spend together face to face.

"That's what our new 'Anywhere for Tennis' campaign is about. We want to support and inspire families to get active, hydrate healthily and have fun together."

"This will help tackle the fact that 38 per cent of parents can feel like they communicate more with their loved ones via screen than face to face, with the average child getting more than four hours at home on a screen on any typical day - that's 29 hours a week."

This suggests that the presence of technology is altering the quality of our interactions, with three quarters (77 per cent) saying they regularly have conversations with family members where the other person isn't listening because they're on their phone, tablet or watching TV.

"But there is a strong appetite to switch off," continues Crowley. "80 per cent of families know they need to be more active, while 63 per cent feel they need to make more effort as a family to get more time face to face with each other.

Judy Murray, who is fronting the Highland Spring campaign encouraging families to get active, said yesterday: "In many ways we couldn't do without the technology at our fingertips. It opens doors and allows us to connect instantly to the global community as as well as our own families.

"But the research has highlighted a concern amongst parents that the digital world, with all the alerts, texts, tweets, calls and instant messages it brings, can have a negative impact on how active families are today.

"Tennis is the perfect solution. It can be played almost anywhere with a little bit of creativity and imagination. Our first 'court' was our driveway at home, with two chairs and a piece of rope for the net. The boys' first 'match' was hitting balloons to each other across the sofa.

"Even if your time is limited, 10 minutes a day of simple but fun skill-building activities at home will help kids to develop a variety of skills, from coordination in both sides of the body to reaction time. The trick is to start simple and build confidence through success.

"With Highland Spring Mini Tennis sessions taking place across the country and a summer of tennis just around the corner, it's the perfect opportunity to pack your bottle of water, pick up a racket and get playing."


Texts (including Whats app)

9 per day between partner, 63 a week - 3276 per year

7 texts per day - 49 a week - 2548 texts per year

5824 texts per year


5 per week to partner - 260 per year

3 per week to kids - 156 per year

416 calls per year

Average call lasts 5.4 minutes = 2246 mins or 37 hours

Social Media Posts

2 social media posts/messages a week to partner

2 social media posts/messages a week to kids

208 social media posts per year


3 emails to partner

2 emails to children

260 emails a year


  1. Children aged 4-13 years old should aim to drink 5-8 200 ml servings glasses per day [1]. Whilst they can meet their body's water requirements from other drinks, water is one of the healthiest ways to hydrate as it has no calories or sugar.
  2. Foods can also contribute to daily water intakes [1]. Those with a high water content; for example melon, soups, stews, fruit and vegetables, will make the greatest contribution.
  3. Encourage children to drink in the morning and at regular intervals throughout the day.
  4. Research suggests that adequate hydration helps children to maintain cognitive function and concentration at school [2,3].
  5. Repeated tastings of water may help children to develop a taste for water [4].
  6. Giving children water at mealtimes may help children to eat vegetables, as it can help to dilute their strong (and sometimes bitter) taste [5].
  7. Children taking part in sports or exposed to warm weather need to replenish the lost fluids by drinking more water.
  8. Parents and other care givers can play a key role in helping to ensure that children are provided with drinks on a regular basis and by actively encouraging their consumption.
Content sourced from the Natural Hydration Council. For further information see


About Highland Spring Group

Highland Spring Group, parent company of the Highland Spring brand, is the leading producer of bottled water to the UK market. One in every five litres of bottled water consumed in the UK is produced by Highland Spring Group* (Total IRI Universe vol. 52 weeks to 27.02.16).

Bottling 500 million litres of water a year, the Highland Spring Group produces brands including Highland Spring, Speyside Glenlivet, Hydr8 and a range of private label flavoured and unflavoured waters for some of the UK's major supermarkets and food service retailers.


[1] EFSA (European Food Standards Agency) (2010) Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for Water. EFSA Journal 8(3), 1459.

[2] Water supplementation improves visual attention and fine motor skills in schoolchildren', Paula Booth, Bianca Taylor and Caroline Edmonds,

published in Education and Health, Vol. 30 No. 3, 2012

[3] Edmonds CJ & Burford D (2009) Should children drink more water?: The effects of drinking water on cognition in children. Appetite 52(3), 776-9.

[4] Cooke LJ et al. (2011) Facilitating or undermining? The effect of reward on food acceptance: a narrative review. Appetite 57(2), 493-7.

[5] Cornwell TB & McAlister AR (2013) Contingent choice. Exploring the relationship between sweetened beverages and vegetable consumption. Appetite 62, 203-8.

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