According to research by eNET and Magyar Telekom, entitled "Report on the Internet Economy," distances between family members and relations are bridged by digital communications, which generally help family relations and improve the quality of time spent together.
"Digital communications, including e-mail, written or video chat and social media, are important modes of keeping in touch in our everyday lives, even though half of all internet users personally meet with family members at least quarterly," the report says.
About 71% of internet users believe that family members used to consider meeting in person more important, with the opinion shared even more by older people. Still, some 57% think that digital devices make keeping in touch with family easier, and improve the quality of liaisons. About 63% of adult internet users say they communicate more frequently with family members due to digital devices than a decade ago.
While baby boomers are convinced that people used to meet more in person than nowadays, the same group thinks that digital devices assist in the integration of older generations into family life.
A mere 30% of all respondents claimed that they meet with distant relatives less frequently than before, as they consider mere digital communication sufficient. The report also claims that physical distance plays a key role in determining digital communicationʼs importance in life, as the farther away a family member lives, the more digital forms of communications are utilized.
Approximately 46% of people with older family members say that at least one elderly family member takes advantage of what the internet and the digital world has to offer in communications. More than a quarter regard the older generations’ presence in family life as very strong, while another 47% say they can rely on older family members in times of need.
"The intensity of older people’s participation in family life is perceived by 59% of internet users as entirely satisfactory, but only 46% think that older family members are totally satisfied in this regard as well. According to regular internet users, elderly relatives would like to participate in family life more actively, " the report claims.
Around 44% of surveyed families say that younger members try to persuade older relatives to use new digital forms of communication.
During the three days of Christmas, some 39% of internet users say they are more active in keeping in touch with family members living separately, with only 5% communicating less than usual. Half indicated no changes in communication habits in this regard.
During the holiday season, mobile phone texts (69%) and chat messages (48%) remain the most popular, with only every fourth internet user picking up a landline phone during the period.