How bad is our digital addiction? We’ve compiled all the latest statistics, facts and research here. As new studies are released we’ll be adding to this so come back and check regularly for the most up-to-date facts.
The facts on our digital and internet addiction and the need for digital detox
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.
In its 2017 Stress in America survey, The American Psychological Association (APA) found that “constant checkers” – people who check their emails, texts, and social media on a constant basis – experience more stress than those who don’t. More than 42% of respondents attribute their stress to political and cultural discussions on social media, compared with 33% of non-constant checkers.
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.
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.
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).
32% of adults who have binge-watched a series at least once in the last month have missed out on sleep as a result.
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. They were also 49% likelier to need more than one hour to fall asleep.
Screens and children
54% of U.S. teens say they spend too much time on their cellphones, and two-thirds of parents express concern over their teen’s screen time.
A 2012 study from the University of Gothenburg found that there is a sweet spot for smartphone use, which, for teenagers at least, appears to be 1 hr 57 mins a day.
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.
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.
According to the American Psychological Association, 53 percent of Americans work over the weekend, 52 percent work outside designated work hours, and 54 percent work even when sick due to the ‘always on’ culture we have created.
“It was great to ‘lose’ my phone. I thought it would be stressful but it was surprisingly easy. I will definitely have down-time with technology in the future.”
Steve - Hotelier
“I found the first day difficult but it subsided quickly. By the end of the break I didn’t want my phone back!”
Lara - Teacher
"Small talk becomes big talk and silences become longer, more comfortable. It occurs to me how frantic technology makes me."
The Pool - May 2016
"It was a revelation! I wasn’t aware how bad my digital addiction had become. Feel deliriously refreshed and restored – will definitely be incorporating regular technology breaks into my life. Everyone should!”
Richard - Journalist
“I wanted to test how I would react without my phone. Generally I felt much more relaxed and with better concentration. From this experience I know that I can live without my phone. I’m going to encourage other people in my life to develop this ability a bit more too!”
Sophie - Stylist
"Three weeks later, I can’t quite believe I have managed to keep my tech use under control. Already I feel more connected and present during chats or out with friends"
The Telegraph - September 2016
“Doing this retreat has actually revealed just how unhealthy my internet obsession is. I've slept better, felt less stressed and had more energy. The retreat has given me some great ideas to help control my phone. I feel fantastic!”
Emily - Blogger
“I loved it. After this, I’m going to get a landline and turn my mobile off for some weekends. I’m also going to take social media off my phone.”
Emily - Director (Consulting)
"Time to Log Off aren’t about disconnecting forever, they’re about remembering to disconnect when it matters."
Emily Luxton Travels - Blog
“My expectations were very high but this exceeded them all. I feel like I have completely rebooted my life!”
Peter - Marketing Director
"Corny as it sounds, when the retreat was over, I felt cleansed. I hadn’t checked the news but I didn’t fear that the world had fallen apart. I felt recharged, not anxious about the work I’d missed."
Travel + Leisure - May 2016
The Daily Mail - September 2016
"I found myself connecting much more deeply with the people around me. Without distractions, our conversations were much richer and more interesting."
The Huffington Post - May 2016
“It was so peaceful. I’m going to buy a non-smartphone to use at weekends and ask friends to call me instead of texting/Whatsaspp-ing!”
Helen - Events Director (Aerospace)
"We came away feeling astonishingly refreshed and restored. Our eyes have been well and truly opened to the extraordinary benefits and pleasures of a hiatus from the constant noise of information."
Gay Times Magazine - January 2016
“This really exceeded expectations. The food, company, setting. All of it was amazing - really serene. I think this will end up a vital experience for me. Thank you!”
Alex - Author
"This was a well-organised, friendly and worthwhile restorative. Blissful."
Gay Times Magazine - January 2016
“A really great experience. I will be implementing a restricted phone and digital regime at home, i.e. no screens on a Sunday and no phones in the bedroom. I’ll also take off work email from my phone and be really mindful during the week of when I use the phone and Internet”.
Sarah - Conservator
"Time To Log Off offers retreats in places such as Hawaii, Italy and Cornwall. Perhaps for 2016 we should all have a go at stashing away our digital addictions ... and indulge in some good old analogue fun.
The Observer - 27 December, 2015
"Amazing! The experience made me realise how much I use my phone as a distraction. Not having my phone meant I could really escape from the stresses of everyday life. From now on I’m deleting work email from my phone at the weekends and I’ll be checking my phone a lot less regularly.”
Caroline - Managing Director (Digital)
DIGITAL DETOX FACTS
Why should you take a digital detox? These surprising digital detox facts on technology, smartphone, social media and internet addiction might persuade you! Find out how our tech habits are affecting our brains, mental health and happiness.