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BizReport : Trends & Ideas : June 28, 2016


Unplug for your health and mental well-being, urges parenting website

Could you go a whole day without plugging in or logging on? That's what parenting website MyFamilyClub asked of people in the UK for the sake of their own, and their children's, health and well-being.

by Helen Leggatt

The first National Unplugging Day was held last year. This year, on Sunday 26 June, the second was held, in an attempt to encourage people to take a break from technology. However, in the wake of the UK's decision to leave the EU, stepping back from social media and online news sites may have been a big ask.

So, why the need for a digital detox? According to MyFamilyClub's study of more than 2,000 parents in the UK, the average parent uses a smartphone 240 times a day sending emails, chatting via apps, using social media or sending texts. Perhaps more worryingly, most children are using technology for more than four hours a day during a school day and six hours a day at the weekends. That is an average of 32 hours using technology every week.

The phenomenon of 'phubbing' - snubbing someone in favor of a mobile phone - was also prevalent within families. More than two-thirds of parents admitted they were regularly 'phubbed' by their children.

Studies have shown a link between heavy media use and issues such as obesity, lack of sleep, academic challenges, aggression, and other behaviour difficulties.

"When are we as parents going to take responsibility for our children's health when it comes to too much screen time, the eroding of family values which are important for children to feel safe and secure, but also their overall well-being from a mental, emotional and physical perspective," said Gemma Johnson CEO and Founder of MyFamilyClub.co.uk. "National Unplugging Day is just the very start of a passionate campaign to generate more awareness amongst parents to take notice of what's happening day to day but also a 'flag in the sand' to tech companies, brands and other companies that are benefiting from children overusing technology. It's time ethics come into play and they also take some responsibility for the damage to our young."

Earlier this year, research from digital marketing agency Greenlight found that 1 in 4 Internet users in the UK planned a stop back from their digital devices in a "digital detox". More than half (53%) specifically wanted to cut down on their computer and mobile activity to spend more quality time with family and friends.

Another study, this time among 1,000 people by Stop Procrastinating, an Internet and website blocker, found that 51% would consider such a break. Reasons for doing so included the anxiety felt when they had not checked their social media account or email, that they could not fully enjoy activities without sharing it online and that checking their digital devices was reducing their quality of sleep.



Tags: detox, family, technology, UK








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