The television has taken over from the dining room table as the hub of the family life, a study revealed today.
Researchers found only five hours a week are spent eating together now with double that amount of time spent in front of the telly.
The study also found families now ‘bond’ during reality TV shows such as Dancing on Ice and I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of here.
Watching shows together also gives people ‘something in common to talk about’ and brings them closer together amid a ‘shared experience’, it emerged.
A large percentage of families polled admitted they ‘obsessively’ watch the same shows and are ‘hooked’ on box sets.
The stats emerged in a study of 3,000 families, of which more than half admitted the television now took centre stage for them.
The survey was commissioned Warner Home Video to launch their new Warner Home Video and HBO DVD promotion offering Season 1 box sets for £7.
Ian Fullerton, Marketing Director of HBO Entertainment said: ”Watching TV box sets has well and truly become a popular past time in the UK over the past 5 years, even with the emergence of video on demand and downloads.
”Families have said they would stay up past their bedtimes to watch more of a box set together, turning down nights out in favour of staying in and watching their favourite shows.”
Nearly half of families admitted ploughing through box sets together with nearly half saying they have marathon sessions where they watch episodes back to back, hooked on storylines.
The most popular series were Friends, Entourage, True Blood and the Sopranos.
One in four parents even admitted sending the kids off to bed early to ensure they secured enough time to watch their favourite shows.
More than a third said they had felt they had become obsessed with certain TV shows and one in five said they thought of the characters ‘as friends’.
The report also found many Brits believe their other half holds an unhealthy obsession with their favourite shows.
Men emerged as more likely to worry about their partners’ obsession.
Nearly half said they or their family had picked up accents and phrases from watching too many episodes of the same shows with most blaming Friends and The Big Bang Theory for this.
Seven out of ten said they had felt sad when they came to an end of a series and that they missed the characters.
Ian Fullerton added: ”It’s encouraging to see that it is becoming such a shared family experience and incredible how people are becoming so immersed that they treat the characters as part of their daily lives and even begin mimicking them.”