Parents and children might rush through their days in different directions, but the American family is as tight-knit as in the last generation -- or more so -- because of the widespread use of cell phones and the Internet, according to a new poll.

In what was described as the first detailed survey of its kind, released last weekend, researchers reported that family life has not been weakened, as many had feared, by new technology. Rather, families have compensated for the stress and hurry of modern life with cell phone calls, e-mail and text messages and other new forms of communication.

"There had been some fears that the Internet had been taking people away from each other," said Barry Wellman, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto and one of the authors of the report, published by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. "We found just the opposite."

In the poll, 60 percent of adults said the new technologies did not affect the closeness of their family, while 25 percent said it made their families closer and 11 percent said the technology had a negative effect.

Wellman said families appreciated the innovations because "they know what each other is doing during the day." This, he said, comports with his other research, which shows that technology "doesn't cut back on their physical presence with each other. It has not cut down on their face time."

The findings were based on a national poll of 2,252 people, and profiled 482 adults who were married or living together with minor children.

Cell phones and Internet use were widespread in two-parent households, regardless of education, income, employment, race and ethnicity, with 94 percent saying at least one adult used the Net and 84 percent saying children were using the Internet.

This marks a large change in short order. Only since the start of the decade has a majority of Americans been Internet and cell phone users, researchers said.

Where technology has changed family life, those polled said it was for the good. Forty-seven percent of adults said cell phones and the Internet had improved the quality of family communication. Another 47 percent said there was no effect, and 2 percent said there had been a decrease in quality.

The positive effect reflects family life for Randy and Ana Tillim of Maryland, who have two kids. "I think it brings us closer, because we're able to communicate throughout the day," said Randy, 38.

Still, the poll showed that technology could have drawbacks. Families with multiple communication devices were less likely than other groups to eat dinner together daily and to feel satisfied that they had enough family time. But researchers said the heaviest technology users are also people with the heaviest work schedules.

Still, the popularity of high-speed Internet -- now in 66 percent of two-parent homes -- has created another family phenomenon: huddling around a screen to watch YouTube videos, a kind of "virtual hearth," said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet project.