It doesn't take an anthropological study to tell us the next generation will be the most wired folks ever.

But that's what is happening in the Los Angeles area. Thirty-two families are participating in a four-year study of modern life. Researchers are monitoring the impact of cell phones, iPods, iMacs, Internet chat rooms and various other electronic gadgets.

They want to gauge the impact of all this technology on family relationships or the lack thereof. One family highlighted in Time magazine rarely acknowledged when one member arrived or departed. They are too busy multi-tasking and didn't want to miss anything.

The human capacity to do several things at once is not new to this generation. Parents have done it for years, only now it's more noticeable with wires hanging from ears and belts. The magazine says multi-tasking has now reached warp speed with the younger generation.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project found 82 percent of all kids are online by the seventh grade. Time says a separate study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found kids 8 to 18 spend on average 6.5 hours per day using electronic media. "Media multi-tasking," using several devices at once, increases that average to 8.5 hours per day.

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