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Image courtesy of AVClub

They are showing the Modern Family episode ‘Unplugged’ again on ABC tonight. It is the one where Claire and Phil and their kids go without their electronic devices as a challenge. Phil presents it as a competition and the family members are up against each other to see who can go the longest without succumbing to the Net.

Spoiler Alert. The youngest boy drops first to see a donkey parasailing on YouTube and then the middle daughter because she cannot get an A for her homework without researching on the Net. The story goes on about Claire’s frustration with trying to make flight reservations over the phone and Phil’s compulsive need to fix his fantasy football team.  Their oldest daughter, the quintessential plugged teen, ends up winning with a little bit of trickery.

I enjoyed this episode for multiple reasons. Other than the usual fabulous funnies of Modern Family, this plot line also takes on a topic close to my heart. The way modern families connect; the way we have absorbed and been absorbed by Web 2.0. On any given day, many of our lives start with logging in, in some form or the other. It would have sounded sci-fi 15 years ago but is so normal these days! Work meetings, collaborative files and conference calls as much as play dates, dinner plans and weekend trips are handled via smartphones, laptops and computers. FB and Twitter are the platforms of choice for staying in touch with friends and family – and not just those at a distance either. I have seen a status update where a husband told his wife his day’s travel schedule via FB. Many parents and children say texting is their communication tool of choice. Sisters have found out about an engagement via FB and there was a blog about a death in the family being announced via a social network. The list goes on.

How does your family communicate? How often do you post, Tweet or blog? Can you go without Internet and social networking for a day, three days, a week? When did you take to social networks and how quickly did it become a must-do part of your day?