Revolutions often result in many changes in a society. The basic social unit, family, is often directly affected when these revolutions take place.
In this article, I’ll explore the two greatest economic and technological revolutions. The Industrial Revolution involves machines while the Internet Revolution saw the rise of the world wide web, and mobile web browsing using phones and other devices.
What is the Industrial Revolution?
A period characterized by a very rapid growth in the economy because of the use of machines. It took place during the 2nd half of the 18th century until the middle part of the 19th century.
It all started in UK and spread to the other parts of the world. A lot of factories were built during this time, which resulted in the development of urban areas and harsh working conditions for the workers. Due to massive production, prices of commodities became cheaper.
The mode of production shifted from manual labor-based approach to being machine-dependent. These machines were mainly used in iron production and textile – the main industries during that time. We also remember the Industrial Revolution because of the invention (or improvement) of the coal-powered steam engine by James Watt, which virtually changed the world.
Another revolution with the same magnitude is taking place, right now.
Moving forward, what is the Internet Revolution?
The invention of the internet (or ARPANET) in the 1960s started it all. The commercialization of internet through the World Wide Web resulted in the revolution that we are experiencing right now.
Social media sites made the world much smaller. Advances in mobile computing devices allowed us to work in remote areas, as long as we have net connection. We can check and process almost everything online – bank transactions, purchases, etc.
How did these two revolutions affect the concept of family?
More opportunities for women
The Industrial Revolution gave women the opportunity to work in factories. Equal working opportunities were given to women because of the demand for cheap labor.
This was caused by the separation of work from household. Two factors according to an article The Impacts of the Industrial Revolution on Families in New England & America. Women did not just focus on rearing children but became part of the working force.
Changing role of children
According to the same article cited above, children were not seen as economic assets rather as dependents who needs education, etc (for middle-class citizens). Because the mode of production moved from cottage level industries to being factory-based, children were no longer needed to run farms.
Likewise, they were also forced to be part of the labor force. Child labor was widely practiced in the early part of the Industrial Revolution. Children from working class families greatly contributed to their families’ overall income.
Family conflicts because of internet usage
A study entitled Family Relations and the Internet: Exploring a Family Boundaries Approach (2006) published in the Journal of Family Communication, concludes that there is a direct correlation between internet usage and family relations.
There was a positive correlation between the use of adolescents of internet for social purposes (communication with friends, online games, etc.) and family conflicts. However, there is no negative effect when internet was used for research and learning purposes.
In some instances, divorce cases are filed because of some “posts”.
Long distance relationships
According to an article in psychology.com, the current technology allowed more relationships to become electronic. Because of social media sites, long distance relationships are common already. The advances in communication technology, through the internet, made it easy to know someone and maintain relationships without even seeing each other in real person.
Economic and technological revolutions affect societies and families in a lot of ways. These transformed the structure of families. Although the Industrial Revolution and the Internet Revolution are separated by a gap of around 150 years, the two have a lot in common.
Changing roles in the society, more opportunities for women, disintegration of the concept of family, transformation of economic centers, etc. There are actually a lot and I only highlighted a few here just to make a simple point.
Revolutions are dependent on two things – technological advancement and human input. It is in the aspect of human input that the families are transformed.
Economic and technological revolutions affect families in many ways. In this article, Ric explores the Industrial Revolution and the Internet Revolution. Find more of his posts at family-oriented law firm in Jupiter, Florida and divorce lawyer in Wellington, Florida.