American families have experienced a deluge of technology in the home over the past decade, and much has been made about how screen time is impacting family time. However, according to a new survey commissioned by Microsoft Corp., parents say that technology is playing a positive role in their family relationships. The survey, conducted by Impulse Research, found that 64 percent of U.S. parents aged 22 to 40 who were surveyed report that technology helps bring their family closer together. Relying on technology to stay connected is even more apparent among younger parents (aged 22 to 30), with 74 percent reporting the same.
Executive chef and mother Alex Guarnaschelli talks about the way Microsoft Office OneNote helps her stay organized everywhere she goes
PCs have gone from productivity machines, hidden in the home office, to entertainment centers that help create family moments, with most parents (43 percent) saying a PC or tablet is the main technology device they use at home with their family. More than half, or 51 percent, of parents say their children are helping them be technologically savvy in finding ways to stay connected as a family.
But just how do you take advantage of all technology has to offer and help ensure screens don’t
become a barrier to connecting? Alex Guarnaschelli, chef, Food Network personality and busy mother, shares how she uses Microsoft technology to help her during the holidays and connect with her friends and family.
Windows Phone 7.5's intelligent multitasking makes it possible to run multiple apps at once, so customers can pause an application to check email and then go back to the application where they left it. Click for larger version
Lean on your smartphone. Use a smartphone, such as the Windows Phone, to remember your appointments, tasks and holiday to-do items. “My phone is like an alarm clock — I set reminders to alert me if I need to make a phone call or run an errand,” Guarnaschelli said. “If an alarm isn’t going off, I feel relaxed and safe knowing I’m not forgetting something. When I’m home with my daughter, I want to be really present for her, and technology liberates me to focus on her.”
Leave shopping to the experts. Are you clueless as to what to wear to your holiday party or what gift to purchase
for your picky niece? Utilize the Bing Shopping guides to shop handpicked gift ideas for everyone on your list, deck the halls with festive decorations and get fashion advice on what to wear for a holiday party.
Host holiday meals stress-free. Are you hosting a big holiday meal or party this season? Keep track of favorite holiday recipes through online notebooks such as Microsoft OneNote, a handy resource that comes with Office 2010 and can be used for organization, as well as meal planning and keeping track of ingredients. Guarnaschelli uses OneNote Web App on her smartphone to have shopping lists at her fingertips. “If I think of a recipe I want to add to that week’s menu while I’m on the subway, or I’m in the kitchen and notice we’re low on ingredients, I just grab my Windows Phone and update my list,” she said. You can even share your documents with family and friends, whether or not they have Microsoft Office, by saving them online using free Office Web Apps.
Get active as a family. Combat constant indulging and stay active during the season by adding active entertainment to family holiday traditions. With Kinect for Xbox 360, you can stay active without worrying about what the weather outside holds. Play football, ski and dance away holiday baked goods while finding new activities to connect with your family, friends or inevitable houseguests.
Stay active with your family by playing Kinect Sports Season Two, the sequel to last year's No. 1 Kinect hit. Click for larger version
“As a society, we’re in a moment of major gadget lust and overwhelming choice. We think we have an opportunity to help people understand how they can get the most out of their technology,” said David Webster, general manager, Brand & Marketing Strategy for the Corporate Marketing Group, Microsoft. “This holiday, we hope to show families that staying connected and spending time together is made easier with an array of Microsoft products including Windows-based PCs, Windows Phones, Xbox and Office.”
More information on how to maximize the holidays with your family with the help of technology can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/family.
Use Bing's Shopping guides to shop handpicked gift ideas for everyone on your list, deck the halls with festive decorations, and get fashion advice on what to wear for a holiday party. Click for larger version