In today’s world, they may be the best way to keep in contact with others, but emails and social networking websites like Facebook are disrupting family life, a new study has claimed.

Researchers at Cambridge University have found that family life is being disrupted as parents and kids are overwhelmed by the huge volumes of emails and social messaging updates they are handling each day.

As a result, one in three Brits isare now desperate to cut down use of Twitter and Facebook as well as emails, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.

Surprisingly, the study, based on a survey, also found children as well as adults preferred to communicate face to face. More than half of all families said a “technology-free” time is important and a third of parents said technology had disrupted family life.

Amongst children aged 10 to 18, who have grown up with new technology, 38 per cent of respondents admitted to feeling overwhelmed by the volume of messages. And, similar numbers of adults felt the same way.

The study also discovered that 43 per cent of children and 33 per cent of adults are taking steps to reduce their reliance on messaging, text and networking. Both groups now preferred interacting face-to-face rather than through the internet or by mobile phone.

Professor John Clarkson, who led the study, said: “There is much discussion about whether communications technology is affecting us for the better or worse.

“The research has shown that communications technology is seen by most as a positive tool but there are examples where people aren’t managing usage as well as they could be — it’s not necessarily the amount but the way it’s used.”