girl on cell phone
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Some will find it depressing. Others will recognise an all-too familiar snapshot of tech-obsessed modern life.

But nearly half of families with children now text each other when they are in the same house.

Just under a third of us (32 per cent) are guilty of tapping out messages on mobiles when we want to talk to someone under the same roof, according to research.

That figure rises to 45 per cent for households with children - suggesting the phenomenon is only set to get worse.

It's not the only way mobiles get in the way of family time at home.

In a third of households, people use their mobiles during their mealtimes.

More than four in ten parents complain their children have ignored them at the table because they were so distracted by their phones. In fact, tablets and mobiles are so prevalent at home, they are also depriving us of rest.

A quarter of the 2,800 adults surveyed by Aviva admitted at least one person in their household was losing sleep because they were staying up too late on their phone, and one in five said that there was someone at home who just couldn't 'switch off'.

Last night campaigners warned the surge in mobile phone usage could be 'catastrophic' for family life. Dr Richard House, a psychologist, said: 'These communication technologies are almost certainly having long-term and possibly dramatic impacts on family life.

'It is potentially catastrophic for the human relational values that underpin family life at its best, with real, face-to-face communication being increasingly displaced and sidelined by the machine.'

However, it is not always the youngsters of the household who are to blame.

Dipti Shah, family therapist at London Child and Therapy centre, said: 'Technology makes keeping in touch easier. But sometimes children complain it is their parents who are on the phone too much.'

The study found that a third of us worry that family members have become 'lazy' because they spend too much time playing video games. But whilst these findings would fill many of us with horror, eight out of ten still say that technology has had a positive impact on their lives.

Those who think technology has improved their lives value activities such as online shopping and the ability to stream TV shows on Netflix and the BBC iPlayer.

More than a quarter also valued the peace of mind technology brings, whilst six out of ten say that it has become easier to stay in touch with family and friends.

Lindsey Rix, of Aviva, said there was evidence that 'the "always on" culture is making it difficult for people to switch off, and in some cases is causing people to become stressed'.

She added: 'Households with children in particular suggest that technology can at times be intrusive, with people communicating via their phones rather than in person, and at inappropriate times such as during family meals.'