Digital Detox – Finding a balance between technology and life beyond the screen

According to new Ofcom research, fifteen million UK internet users have undertaken a digital detox in a bid to strike a healthier balance between technology and life beyond the screen.

The recent study, commissioned by Ofcom as part of its annual Communications’ Market report, found reliance on the internet is affecting people’s personal and working lives, leading many to seek time away from the web to spend time with friends and family. Conducted amongst 2,025 adults and 500 teenagers, the study reports one in three adult internet users (34%) taking time offline, with one in ten (11%) doing so in the last week alone.

The most common reasons cited for taking timeout from the internet were to spend more time doing other things (cited by 44%) and more time talking to friends and family (38%).

Is taking a digital detox worth it?

A third (33%) of those surveyed said they felt more productive without the distraction of the internet, whilst 27% found it liberating and a quarter (25%) enjoyed life more. However, 16% experienced a ‘fear of missing out’ (‘FOMO’), with 15% saying they felt lost and 14% ‘cut-off’.

Is it possible to live an internet-free life?

With 71% of UK adults now owning a smartphone (up from 66% a year ago), being able to connect to the internet is easier than ever. This means people can spend more time on-line, surfing the web, using social media or watching movies.

Three in four internet users (75%) consider the web ‘important’ to their daily lives and nearly eight in 10 (78%) agree it helps keep them up-to-date with current affairs and social issues. Some people go further in their consideration of the importance of the web, with two thirds (63%) crediting the internet with inspiring them to try new things such as travel destinations, restaurants, recipes or entertainment.

Half (51%) of all internet users agreed that, because of the internet, they never feel bored, while 82% feel that communicating over the web has made life easier.

How is internet use affecting our everyday lives?

UK adult now spend on average, one day a week (25 hours) online, with 42% saying they go online or check apps more than 10 times a day and around one in 10 (11%) accessing the internet more than 50 times a day.

Most internet users (59%) even consider themselves ‘hooked’ on their connected device, with a third (34%) admitting they find it difficult to disconnect.

The consequence of spending too much time online is its effect on people’s work and personal lives. Known as ‘tech tardiness’, one in five users (22%) admitted to being late for a meeting with friends or family, and 13% late for work. One quarter of teens (26%), have been late for school, while six in 10 teenagers (60%) said they’d neglected school work.

Jane Rumble, Director of Market Intelligence at Ofcom said:

“The internet has revolutionised our lives for the better. But our love affair with the web isn’t always plain surfing, and many people admit to feeling hooked. So millions of us are taking a fresh look at the role of technology in our lives, and going on a digital detox to get a better tech-life balance.”

Striking the balance between business and pleasure

As a business, how do you find the right balance between using smart devices to ensure your employees have constant access to work files and customers, and allowing staff a digital hiatus?

Office Phone Shop can support you with all your business communications’ needs, including business mobile solutions. Divert calls to your business mobile so you never miss a call. Keep your team in touch and allow flexible working for your employees. Connect your office phone system to your smartphone, tablet or desktop computer wherever you have a wifi connection. We can advise you how to help your employees balance their connectivity time without it resulting in a digital burnout. Contact us for more information.