Digital detoxers ditch their devices

04 August 2016

Woman-relaxingFifteen million UK internet users have undertaken a 'digital detox' in a bid to strike a healthier balance between technology and life beyond the screen, according to major new Ofcom research.

The study of 2,025 adults and 500 teenagers reveals how our 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.

Ofcom's Communications Market Report 2016 finds that one in three adult internet users (34%), equivalent to 15 million people in the UK, has sought a period of time offline, with one in ten (11%) doing so in the last week alone.

Of these digital down-timers, 25% spent up to a day internet-free; 20% took up to a week off; and 5% went web-free for up to a whole month.

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

Many people found their time offline to be a positive experience: a third (33%) said they felt more productive, 27% found it liberating, while a quarter (25%) enjoyed life more. However, 16% experienced a 'fear of missing out' ('FOMO') while on the web wagon, 15% felt lost and 14% 'cut-off'.

Millions of holiday-goers are purposely abandoning technology. Thirty percent of UK adults have done some form of digital detox holiday. Sixteen per cent of UK adults have purposely visited a destination with no internet access, while 9% have intentionally travelled to a place with neither internet nor mobile phone coverage.