The facts on our digital addiction and the need for digital detox
Eating away time
UK adults spend an average of 8 hours 41 minutes a day on screens (more time than they are asleep).
UK children spend 6 1/2 hours a day on screens.
The average user logs 1.72 hours a day on social media alone.
And checks their smartphone 150 times a day.
Although a 2016 study estimates that we tap, swipe and click on our devices 2,617 times each day.
69% of UK children say their parents spend too much time on their mobile device at home
UK adults now spend 25 hours a week online – up from 9 hours a week in 2005
Half of all UK adults admit to being ‘completely hooked‘ on their smartphones, emphasising the need for a regular digital detox.
80% of smartphone users say checking their phone is the first thing they do in the morning.
66% of UK smartphone owners in a study self-reported suffering from ‘nomophobia’, the fear of losing or being without their phones at any given time – obsessively checking to make sure they have their phone with them, and constantly worrying about losing it somewhere.
The first inpatient facility for treating internet addiction in the US opened in 2013. China has opened 300 teenage bootcamps imposing a strict digital detox to deal with increasing problems of teen internet addiction.
62% of recently polled UK adults say they ‘hate’ how much time they spend on their phone.
27% of UK children say their parents have double standards about technology.
A recent study by Binghamton University found that women were more likely to exhibit susceptibility to smartphone addiction than men.
There is a strong link between heavy internet use and depression, with heavy users 5x more likely to suffer from depression than non-heavy users.
A study by the National Institute of Mental Health has found a strong and significant association between social media use and depression.
Scientists have also found a link between heavy Facebook use and depressive symptoms, including low self-esteem.
A study has shown that as mobile phone use increases, so does anxiety.
A 2016 study by the University of Pittsburgh revealed that those who use 7-10 social media platforms were 3x more likely to report depressive symptoms than those who use 2 or fewer.
A 2015 University of Derby study found higher scores of narcissism and levels of neuroticism were linked to smartphone addiction.
A study found teenagers who text compulsively have a lot in common with compulsive gamblers.
Staying off all social media for a week has been shown in a study to increase happiness.
A new study published has linked too much smartphone use with higher incidences of anxiety and depression.
Social media makes 7 million Brits ‘depressed’ looking at friends’ perfect lives
Focus and concentration
Human average attention spans have declined significantly in the 8 years since smartphones existed and are now lower than that of a goldfish.
As our tech habits deny our brains important downtime, our ability for deep-thinking and maintained focus is reducing.
Skills in critical thinking and analysis have declined as our use of technology has increased.
Many argue that a decrease in attention span is made up by our increased ability to multi-task. However, Research from (MIT) and others proved that multitasking doesn’t work – because the brain doesn’t work that way.
A link has been found between excessive social media use and poor academic performance.
The act of just receiving a notification, even if you don’t reply to it, is enough to severely distract you.
40% of teens do not complete homework because of time spent with digital devices.
Damage to the brain
Neuroimaging research has shown that excessive screen time actually damages the brain. (Structural and functional changes have been found in brain regions involving emotional processes, executive attention, decision making and cognitive control).
According to research by University College London, media-multitasking and rapidly switching from task to task can weaken your brain’s anterior cingulate cortex, which is involved in high-level information and emotion processing.
47% of adults miss out on sleep due to internet usage.
95% of adults in a US study admitted to using some type of screen in the hour leading up to bed*. (*Artificial blue light emitting from screens increase alertness and suppresses the hormone melatonin by up to 22% which negatively impacts sleep).
A recent study showed that teenagers with screen time of more than four hours per day were 3.5x more likely to get poor sleep – sleeping fewer than five hours at night.
44% of teens admitted that they do not get enough sleep because of digital devices.
25% of adults admitted that they do not get enough sleep because of digital devices.
Screens and children
A UCLA study found that pre-teens who were deprived of screens for five days through a digital detox were much better at reading people’s emotions (non-verbal skills) than children who continued using screens.
Many UK parents find it easier to get their children to do homework, go to bed or have a bath than turn off their phones, laptops, and TVs, a UK poll found.
6 out of 10 Americans wish their family members would unplug from technology more often.
60% of UK parents believe their child spends too much time on their mobile device at home
A University of Sheffield study highlights that spending an hour a day on social media reduces the probability of a child being completely happy with their life by 14%.
A study has found that every hour that infants and toddlers aged between 6 and 36 months used touchscreen devices was linked to 15.6 minutes less sleep.
Blue light and digital eye strain
A US survey found that more than 73% of young adults (under 30) suffer from symptoms of digital eye strain from screen overuse, including dry, irritated eyes, blurred vision, neck and back pain, and headaches.
60% of people say a traditional vacation/holiday does not relieve their stress with many admitting to checking emails and taking phone calls while away, sometimes multiple times a day. A digital detox removes all work-related communications allowing a proper break.
Checking work emails decreases your focus, as well as making you more stressed.
An ‘always on’ culture with high expectations to monitor and respond to emails during non-work time may prevent employees from ever fully disengaging from work, leading to chronic stress and emotional exhaustion.
37% of teens and 30% of adults admitted that their devices interfere with normal day to day activities.
Decreasing human connection
31% of internet users miss out on spending time with friends and family.
More than half (58%) of UK adults now say they use text messages at least once a day to communicate with family and friends, while only 49% meet people face-to face on such a regular basis. However, the majority of of UK adults say they would actually prefer to meet (67%) or speak on the phone (10%) than communicate by text.
26% of adults have sent text or instant messages to friends or family while in the same room.
21% of UK children feel their parents don’t listen to them properly because they’re constantly picking up emails, calls or texts on their mobiles
39% of UK children say they sometimes communicate with their parents by text, email and social media whilst being at home at the same time