Why not have a daily digital detox?Brits are being invited to pledge their support for the Tech Timeout™ challenge and take a daily scheduled break from their electronic devices for one hour every day, for a week. You could reconnect with the family and find fun ways to spend time together.
The initiative – supported by Foresters, the international financial services organisation – is aimed at helping families reconnect and spend more quality time together, especially as the UK is the second most prolific social network user in Europe*.
• Statistics** reveal that in 2012, each week, 91% of all 5-15 year olds used the internet, with the usage increasing as the child got older: 6 hours for 5-7 year olds, 8.1 hours for 8-11 year olds and 17.1 hours for 12-15 year olds.
• The study also showed that 12-15 year olds spent as much time using the internet as watching television – meaning that the average 12-15 year spends around 34 hours a week in front of a screen of some form.
• Further research*** revealed that while 45% of parents understood that technology and the internet will play an important role in their children’s lives, they felt it is important to put appropriate limits on time spent in front of a computer.
Rebecca Bell, Project Leader from Foresters says: “There is a growing concern that the sheer amount of digital devices in the average home is having an impact on family life and togetherness. Even if a family is sitting in one room together, it is likely that the TV or radio will be on, and individual family members will be on their tablet, smartphone or other device.
“Research shows that children in particular are so reliant on devices to keep them occupied, that they don’t understand the importance of solitude or creating their own amusement. And with people having more virtual friends than “real” ones, the art of conversation is becoming difficult.
“To counter this, we are inviting families to join in this campaign and have a daily digital detox whether it is simply sharing a leisurely family meal together, playing cards, volunteering, getting out and about or one of any number of other activities.”
Believed to be the first campaign of its kind in the UK, families can visit techtimeout.com (which originally launched in North America earlier this year with a huge take up rate) and take the pledge to turn off digital devices (including TVs, game consoles, smartphones and computers) for an hour each day for one week.
During the challenge, participants can visit the Tech Timeout™ website or Facebook page to share stories about the impact of technology on their lives – good and bad – their success stories, and their struggles with unplugging, plus tips on technology-free activities.
The site also has lots of useful information, including 50 things to do, which range from cooking a pizza from scratch to playing with a pet; volunteering at a homeless shelter to taking a bike ride; learning new skills in community and family shelters; and looking at a family photograph album to playing a board game.
Ms. Bell adds: “The Foresters purpose is to enrich the lives of our members, their families and communities. By encouraging people to pledge their support to Tech Timeout, we are offering an innovative way to help families spend quality time together and turn our purpose into action”.
Visit www.techtimeout.com for more information.