One in four internet users in Scotland have undertaken a ‘digital detox’ in a bid to strike a healthier balance between technology and life beyond the screen.
Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2016 reveals that 25% of Scottish internet users have sought a period of time offline, with one in ten (10%) doing so in the last week alone.
The most common reasons for taking a ‘tech timeout’ were to spend more time doing other things (cited by 47%) and more time with friends and family (29%).
Scots felt they were better able to cope without the internet than people in the UK as a whole (61% compared with 52%). Many also found their time offline to be a positive experience: almost half (45%) said they felt more productive, 33% enjoyed life more and a quarter (25%) found it liberating.
However, over one in ten (15%) experienced a ‘fear of missing out’ while on the web wagon, 21% felt lost and 15% ‘cut-off’. Scots credit the internet with broadening their horizons; three-quarters (76%) of internet users say being online enables them to do things they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.
Just over eight in ten (81%) said that the internet had made their life easier, saving time and effort with services like banking and shopping.
But more than half of internet users in Scotland (53%) admitted they were guilty of ‘connectivity creep’ – spending longer browsing the internet than they originally intended, while 37% said the same of social media.
As a result, 44% neglected housework; 42% said they had missed out on sleep or were tired the next day; while 27% had missed out on spending time with friends and family.
People also reported a lack of ‘netiquette’ from strangers who can’t seem to put their devices down. Just over two fifths of adults in Scotland (21%) complained that someone bumped into them in the street at least once a week because they were too busy looking at their phone.
Seven in ten adults in Scotland (72%) felt they’d been ‘smart-snubbed’ - ignored by a friend or relative too engrossed in their smartphone or tablet - with 32% experiencing this at least once a week, and 10% stating it happened on a daily basis.