What technologies are helping families build new bonds?

Make gaming a family affair, and bond over your love of shredding on the guitar!
Make gaming a family affair, and bond over your love of shredding on the guitar!

When the kids are in their rooms texting with their friends, your spouse is programming the DVR (digital video recorder) for game night and your work associates are calling your cell to check on tomorrow's big presentation, it's hard to see how technology helps bring families closer together. If it weren't for the kitchen table and pepperoni pizza, you'd probably never see each other at all. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration, but pundits who criticize technology as destructive to family traditions like Sunday dinner and movie night might be seeing a darker truth in the proliferation of tech wizardry. There's a flip side to the doom and gloom, though.

Technology -- whether it's a GPS locator or a digital photo frame -- is a tool, and some new tools and technologies are shrinking the distance between granny and the kids -- virtually. Technology, working in conjunction with social media, is driving some of the changes we're seeing. Cell phones are making it easy to take candid photos, videos and sound bites, while sites like Youtube and Facebook, and platforms like Blogger and Wordpress are providing venues for all that new content. It's true your tween may want to lock you out of some of her Facebook communications (that might be worth some supervision), but it's just as likely you'll be using your own Facebook account to compile a list of suggestions for this year's family reunion or reconnect with a second cousin you haven't seen in a while.

Once the reunion is a memory, you can transform those hundreds of digital photos into a digital scrapbook using sites like Computer Scrapbook. Everyone in your contact list can enjoy it, and no trees will have perished in the process. You can also take the easy route and just load your pics to photo sites like Flickr where they'll be easy to store, share and compile into fun and versatile slideshows.