The Media in Figures: Digital ‘detoxing’

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’.

According to its annual communications market report, broadcasting and telecoms regulators, Ofcom, have found that 25 per cent of Scots internet users have sought a period of time offline, with one in ten (ten per cent) doing so in the last week alone.

Among other findings:

* The most common reasons for taking a ‘tech timeout’ were to spend more time doing other things (cited by 47 per cent) and more time with friends and family (29 per cent).

* Scots felt they were better able to cope without the internet than people in the UK as a whole (61 per cent compared with 52 per cent). Many also found their time offline to be a positive experience: almost half (45 per cent) said they felt more productive, 33 per cent enjoyed life more and a quarter (25 per cent) found it liberating.

* However, over one in ten (15 per cent) experienced a ‘fear of missing out’ while on the web wagon, 21 per cent felt lost and 15 per cent ‘cut-off’.

* Scots credit the internet with broadening their horizons; three-quarters (76 per cent) 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 per cent) 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 per cent) admitted they were guilty of ‘connectivity creep’ – spending longer browsing the internet than they originally intended, while 37 per cent said the same of social media.

* As a result, 44 per cent neglected housework; 42 per cent said they had missed out on sleep or were tired the next day; while 27 per cent 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 per cent) 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 per cent) felt they’d been ‘smart-snubbed’ – ignored by a friend or relative too engrossed in their smartphone or tablet – with 32 per cent experiencing this at least once a week, and ten per cent stating it happened on a daily basis.

Source: Communications Market Report: Scotland, published August 4 2016.