13 Feb Evolution Of The TV Room Part 3: The Impact On Family Dynamics
For more than 50 years, the TV room has been the center of family life. In this blog series, we have tracked how the TV room grew as screens expanded, then shifted as watching shows on personal screens became the norm. But what has the evolution of the TV room done to family dynamics?
The impact of the first evolution of the TV room on family dynamics
When the TV room first emerged, parents and their children would commonly gather there in the evenings and on weekends. The TVs’ small screens forced everyone to snuggle in together, maintaining close proximity to one another – literally and figuratively.
As screens grew and the first evolution of the TV room took hold, physical distance amongst family members also grew. Now, even though everyone was in one room, they began to exist in semi-individual spaces. It became common for parents to sit in the center of the room, watching TV together, while their kids might half-watch while working on a family computer or hanging out with friends at the edge of the room.
This sense of existing in separate spaces became more common as TV rooms were increasingly joined with other rooms to meet minimum viewing distances and create open concept layouts. Suddenly, activities were further split, with some family members cooking or eating while watching the same show as other family members who were sitting down. This made TV viewing no longer just a part of evenings or weekends, but a binding thread woven throughout many family activities and interactions. In many ways, families could now avoid speaking to each other if they wanted to. They were always, however, maintaining a shared viewing experience that tied them together.
The impact of the second evolution of the TV room on family dynamics
The next wave of the evolution of the TV room, however, shifted families away from that shared viewing experience. Watching shows and movies individually on personal screens became the norm.
Laptops, and eventually tablets and smartphones, made viewing video content easier to do on an individual level. This gave family members the choice to watch what they want – rather than the whole family watching something together.
How is that changing family dynamics? The truth is that we are still finding out. Already, though, we can see that families are returning to closer physical proximity. But on the other hand, families are more likely to lose sight of one another. Parents and children are able to gather together physically but individual personal time is still happening in the same space.
One advantage of the current evolution of the TV room, though, is that it provides an opportunity to re-shape the role of the TV in family life. Now, instead of the TV serving as an easily shared experience, family members have a chance to watch shows on their own and choose other activities to share together.
Given this, home designers are now suggesting their clients consider alternative TV rooms, including multi-use versions of that space.
Are multi-use spaces the future of the TV room? If not, what will the next evolution of the TV room be? Find out our predictions later this month, in the final part of this series.