May 1, 2011

Quality Family Time, Redefined

IT WAS a vision of family togetherness out of a Normal Rockwell painting, if Rockwell had worked in the era of WiFi. After a taco dinner one Wednesday in march, Dianne Vavra and her family retreated to the living room of their Cape Code-style house in Huntington, N.Y., where they curled up on the spacious beige sofa amid hand-stitched quilts as an icy rain pelted the windows.

Ms. Vavra, a cosmetics industry executive in Manhattan, looked up from her iPad, where she was catching up on the latest springs looks at, and noticed that her husband, Michael Combs, was transfixed, streaming the N.C.A.A. men's basketball tournament on his laptop. Their son, Tom, 8, was absorbed by the Wii game Mario Kart on the widescreen TV. Their daughter, Eve, 10, was fiddling with a game app called the Love Calculator on an iPod Touch.

One family. One room. Four screens. Four realities. The family was in the same room, but not goether, Ms. Vavra recalled.

[Article and Photo: New York Times]

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