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Digital Nation Craves More Chat as Friendships and Family Relationships Crumble

Despite explosion in digital communications nearly a third of people feel their relationships have suffered because they now ‘talk’ less

London, 27 October, 2005. Today’s digital nation is communicating more frequently than ever, particularly via email. But, 90 per cent of people feel that email, text messages and instant messaging has made communication with friends and family less personal. According to the recent study by PlusNet, one third of people in the UK feel that their relationships with friends and family have suffered, because they don’t chat with each other enough.

The study into communication habits revealed that although email has become the most popular method of communication with friends and family, with 81 per cent of respondents using it, 41 per cent of people would prefer to receive a phone call.

“With the explosion of email, texts and IM, people are shying away from making phone calls, said Neil Armstrong, Head of Marketing, PlusNet. “When you’re busy, it’s tempting to send an email or text, rather than pick up the phone. While there’s time and place for each of these methods, undeniably it’s a personal phone call that keeps friends and family together”.

The demands of modern life have deeply impacted personal relations and communication with loved ones due to hectic schedules. Despite mobile phones and the internet, nearly 50 per cent of people felt that they have less time to keep in touch with friends and family now than in the past. Nearly seven in ten people blamed longer working hours for this lack of time. More than a quarter of people feel pressure to spend more quality time communicating with friends and family, but many complain about the cost of calls. PlusNet believes the answer is making free calls over the internet (known as Voice over IP or VoIP).

“When it’s so easy to make free phone calls over the internet using your broadband line, there’s no excuse for not ringing your friends and family more often,” added Armstrong.

Other communication trends revealed by the PlusNet research included a high proportion of people resorting to using email, text and IM in situations where they are trying to avoid confrontation or find communication uneasy. Forty per cent of respondents found new technologies less confrontational and used them to flirt (27 per cent), apologise for missed birthdays (22 per cent), and to inform their employers about being sick (19 per cent).

The PlusNet survey that polled 3,250 people across the UK included was carried out from 3 — 15 October, 2005.

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