Is your living room a 'digital hub'? Do you watch TV as as family? Or do you all sit in the same room watching different stuff?

(46 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 01-Aug-13 09:55:15

Hello hello.

You may have seen/heard in the news today that, according to a new report from Ofcom (the communications regulator), 'living rooms are making a comeback' as families in the UK are now more likely to get together in their living room and watch TV than they have been for over a decade.

But increased use of smartphones and tablets means that many of us are actually either watching a different television show from our other half/our children while sitting in the same room - or using other devices to do related things, such as Tweeting about the show or using tie-in apps or texting/messaging friends.

Does this ring true for you? Does your family sit together in the living room with different groups of you using different devices to watch/browse different stuff? Or do you all watch the same programmes? Or, even, is the centre of your family life a different room in your house altogether?

Do tell. We'd love to know!

500internalerror Thu 01-Aug-13 10:09:18

How can you all be watching different things in the same room? Surely people don't all sit together with headphones on? confused

Our only telly is in the front room, so yes I suppose that's our 'digital centre' . We don't watch that much though - we tend to go without for days, then splurge in a telly day!

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 01-Aug-13 10:33:03

We think they mean folks are watching the same show in the 'main' telly but using other devices to do something related - so, Tweeting about the show, using tie-in apps, texting/messaging friends or updating Facebook.

Apols if our OP wasn't brilliantly clear. We'll amend it a little now.

MadeOfStarDust Thu 01-Aug-13 10:40:38

If we have decided to put the telly on, those who want to watch the program watch it, those that don't go elsewhere and do whatever.... we do not sit round on gadgets whilst watching telly..

but the kids might sit playing computer games in the living room whilst we read, or v.v...... We don't allow internet enabled gadgets in other rooms...

Tabby1963 Thu 01-Aug-13 10:45:25

Yes, we usually have the telly on and also our laptops, sometimes watching a catch up on that with headphones on, or playing a game...

Sounds just like my house. One of us will be watching telly, the other on the laptop watching a movie/catching up on American programmes we've missed, dd watching telly but playing with the ipad - we're in the same room, we still converse but are all doing/watching different things.

I like that we're all together but not doing the same thing. I MN whilst I watch telly, technology is great.

Tee2072 Thu 01-Aug-13 11:04:47

Yes, TV will be on but one or both of us, husband and I, son too young, will be on PC/tablet/phone.

Most often husband playing XBox while I cruise the 'net.

ArkadyRose Thu 01-Aug-13 11:05:34

We don't have a TV, but we do congregate in the living room on our various devices - DD3 watches Cbeebies or other programs on iPlayer on her PC, DP and I have our laptops and often will be watching something else on them with headphones and I'll generally be poking aroind on Twitter, FB & MN on my phone too.

Normally all doing our own thing in living room.

we're worse than that tbh - often ds is watching tv in the living room whilst i'm watching something on the laptop or online in my bedroom with the two of us floating in between. he's six - we have little interest in anything the other would want to watch so there's limited shows we'd actually sit down together for example doctor who.

if we're in there together i may be reading a book on my kindle whilst he watches tv or he may be playing on the tab whilst i watch the news or something.

there is just the two of us in the house but there may be 4 or 5 gadgets going on at any one time blush

question - why on earth does it matter if the people are both watching the same shite on telly (and not engaging) or one is watching telly and the other is on their smartphone?

Actually thinking about it, when we were kids pre internet/tablets we'd all be sat in the living room with the TV on, dad would doze off or read the newspaper, mum would do crosswords, I'd be either drawing or reading and my brother would be playing with toys. So I wouldn't say this is down to technology spoiling family time.

nope i'd say it's down to the simple fact that we all have different tastes and watching children's tv is soul destroying, things i'd watch i wouldn't want ds to see at this age and short of loving each other parents and small children don't have that much in common.

and actually in the 'all stuck in the living room watching tv together' era i was subjected to watching soap operas and dramas that i wouldn't dream of letting ds watch. so actually i think it's an improvement.

ArkadyRose Thu 01-Aug-13 11:43:33

Given that we've only had TV for 50 years, saying modern technology is spoiling family life is a load of bollocks really. The same thing was said of first radio then TV when they first came out and it was just as much nonsense back then as it is now.

I'm not entirely sure that all sitting watching TV is exactly quality family time anyway

SunshineBossaNova Thu 01-Aug-13 11:50:02

I tend to MN or tweet / engage with TV programmes while DH just watches.

MadeOfStarDust Thu 01-Aug-13 11:50:23

We have specific things we turn the telly on for, not just moving wallpaper -

so it can be quality family time - a shared experience type thing - rather than just something to do...

arkady exactly! plus would we really prefer to all go back to sitting round in silence doing embroidery by candlelight? marvelous stuff technology.

Madlizzy Thu 01-Aug-13 11:59:55

We can be all watching the same programme, at the same time, I can be faffing on my tablet, DH on the laptop and the teens on their phones.

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 01-Aug-13 12:19:57

I agree with the others. It's a regular occurrence in our house.

is anyone going to mention the elephant in the room of the only reason living rooms are making a comeback is that so many people can't afford to leave the house?

saf Quite.

it's like saying people are 'choosing' to spend the school holidays close to home and do day trips and creative activities - not going on holiday is making a comeback.

errr yeah or ......

Tee2072 Thu 01-Aug-13 13:04:17

Good point, SaF.

Although we've always sat in the living room together, even pre-kids, on separate computers. We don't really like to talk. grin

exactly - not having to talk to each other might be the ONLY thing holding some families together grin (not you obviously)

ouryve Thu 01-Aug-13 13:17:27

We're watching less and less TV (yay!) Even the kids don't care about it, all that much.

Currently, I'm catching up on stuff, online, on my laptop. DH is watching a video on his tablet (yes he is wearing headphones) and DS1 is sat at the table, drawing. The room is quiet apart from the noises we're making, the stomping of DS2, who has taken all his toys upstairs and the excited chattering of the teenage girl, next door!

throckenholt Thu 01-Aug-13 13:44:56

When we watch tv we are usually in the living room no-one using any other gadget. DS occasionally watches something on the pc in the dining room. More often we are scattered around the house/garden/garage doing stuff.

We don't fit the stereotype (we all sit down to eat together every day as well !).

CoolStoryBro Thu 01-Aug-13 16:50:59

We don't even have a tv in the living room. Our living room is for chatting, playing games and listening to music. We spend a lot of time in there.

We do have a tv in the family room but we rarely all watch something together as we don't all like the same thing. If we do, then yes, it's a safe bet someone (ie DS1 and me!) have our iPhone/iPads out too.

ReginaPhilangie Thu 01-Aug-13 19:05:02

Yeah we usually do. blush Kids will have the telly on and either be watching something or playing on the Wii. DH will either have his laptop on and be watching something with his headphones in or reading a book, and I'll either be on my laptop on MN or reading my Kindle.

Well at the moment, DS2 and DD are playing Pikmin3 on the TV, I'm sitting on the sofa MNing on my laptop and DS1 is on the PC playing League of Legends (with headphones) so yes, I guess we do use the living room like that. We've only got a small flat, so it's do that or hide in bedrooms, and on the whole we seem to prefer staying in the Living Room together even if we're doing different things. DC only do stuff in their rooms when they're banished there in the evenings...

BackforGood Thu 01-Aug-13 19:33:44

Generally we're all scattered around the house (or out).
Surely this is going to be influenced by the age of your dc / make up of your family?
There are not many progs that we all watch (possibly Big Bang Theory being the only exception - but we tend to be available to watch that at different times / on different days, so we'll pick it up on Catch Up or on the laptop on iplayer or similar.
It's clearly very different dynamics now from when I was growing up, when you either watched it when it was on, or missed whatever prog it was you wanted to see (from a choice of 3 channels)

elQuintoConyo Thu 01-Aug-13 20:56:52

Our only tv is upstairs in the den: small bedroom that will eventually be DS's. He is 19mo so we don't watch tv together, maybe stick on some Spongebob while I have a shower.
DH works all kinds of hours so I might watch tv on my own at night while he works downstairs, or he'll watch something while I wash up/go to bed.
We aren't big tv watchers and don't live in UK so haven't got access to iplayer - not sure if we can record stuff/save stuff on Spain's Sky-equivalent. Not that bothered,to be honest.

If the tv is on, I'm usually MNing on the iPad or reading my kindle. I don't watch tv much.

DS1 and 2 get tv time a couple of times a week, watching films with DH. When I'm with them and DH isn't, the TV doesn't go on - it never occurs to me and they don't ask.

No TV anywhere else. The boys will use the iPad from time to time, mainly to watch music videos or play apps.

onedev Thu 01-Aug-13 22:36:04

This pretty much describes us - only 1 TV in the house which is inter living room, so we'll all sit in the living rooms various iPads & iPhones with only 1 or 2 of us watching something on the TV.

I agree with the poster up thread - when we were younger, we'd all he in the living room but my dad would be reading the paper (broadsheet so you wouldn't even see him from behind it, just legs!) & mum would be going crosswords - so don't think it's any different now really grin

onedev Thu 01-Aug-13 22:37:37

Sorry about all the typos in my post - bloody iPhones grin

MrsMaryCooper Fri 02-Aug-13 07:14:27

All in the same room - only one TV. Often one or more on laptop or playing games though.

CoTananat Fri 02-Aug-13 07:30:42

We don't have a tv. But we do have a projector and when we put that on we watch it together, a few hours a month, generally on our bedroom wall but sometimes in the sitting room. We watch series, one after the other, not mixed up. We don't watch live tv on a schedule apart from Dr Who and Sherlock, which we do probably liveblog, aye. Or tumblr. You have to watch those straight away or the SuperWholock juggernaut on tumblr will show you the entire ep in a series of amusing captioned gifs. They move fast!

I watch tv on my laptop but only when I'm doing something like cleaning or sketching (for work) that needs my hands. Or for CBeebies, of course. God bless CBeebies. I put that on the laptop and put it up high in a cradle.

tabulahrasa Fri 02-Aug-13 09:08:59

Only one TV here as well, so sometimes me and DP are on phones or the iPad...not watching something else though, sometimes I'm reading a book if it's something I don't want to watch.

One thing that has changed is that now we can work out where we know actors from while we're watching, not important in any way, but very satisfying, lol.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Fri 02-Aug-13 10:18:07

the kitchen is our meeting place, right this minute dp, dsd, dss and me are sat around the table, I'm mning on my tablet, dp is playing a game on his tablet, dsd is Facebooking on her laptop and dss is watching funny animal clips on YouTube on his iPod touch.

usually early evening we all sit in the living room to watch something together but dsd and I will often be reading at the same time (either book or kindle).

the children aren't allowed gadgets whilst watching tv it's one or the other, once they are in bed dp and I often watch tv whilst doing stuff on our tablets.

Trills Fri 02-Aug-13 10:30:23

I have the TV on and I am MNing right now.

(I'm not working today)

Trills Fri 02-Aug-13 10:31:10

I do all sorts of things that I would consider a "bad example" if there were children watching.

Some shows (the Apprentice springs to mind) were practically designed to be watched while bitching on the internet.

theonewiththenoisychild Fri 02-Aug-13 18:23:49

our livingroom is a digital hub but we are all together and we do talk to each other so not all completly ignoring each other smile

i want my friend to come on here and tell the story of how her and her husband interact in the living room of an evening. she made me laugh my head off talking about what it is like to be watching telly while a grown man in the corner is on a headset talking in code to people he's 'raiding' with online.

ooh how antisocial - err yeah but go back 50 years and he'd probably in the pub drinking away the wages whilst she was still cleaning and trying to keep a fire going at home.

21st century quandries and concerns really are quite amusing in context.

theonewiththenoisychild Sun 04-Aug-13 11:19:37

he sounds just like my dp only he suddenly shouts you camping b****rds because apparently someone has been hiding the whole game and shot him hmm
but we do chat and watch telly sometimes and other times i go round my friends and listen to her dp saying the exact same things grin


i used to mock so much but really how long do we spend on mn and the like talking to virtual strangers?

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