As smartphone distractions infiltrate everything from mealtimes to conversations, new research by Bupa UK reveals a quarter of Brits (23%) are now turning away from technology in a bid to avoid missing out on the moments that matter. 18-24 year-olds were found to be twice as likely (41%) to do the same, switching off their phone during leisure time or leaving it behind altogether.
The impact of “technoference” means nearly one in five (17%) look at their phones hourly, while 1.54 million (3%) check their phones 2-3 times a minute, clocking up more than 1 million views a year.
As a result, Brits admit to missing out on things like the plot of a film, TV programme or (20%); a conversation with a loved one or partner (17%); and a key moment such as a goal being scored while watching sport (13%).
Encouragingly, the emerging trend to leave our mobile devices behind is breathing life into our leisure time. Two fifths (38%) of those who have switched off their phones or left them behind agree to being more ‘present’. A third (33%) also get more enjoyment from activities, while other benefits include improved connection with family members (27%) or partner (24%) and increased performance at work (12%).
Dr. Luke James, Bupa’s Medical Director for Bupa Health Clinics said: “Technology has no doubt had a positive impact on many people’s lives and can help to capture irreplaceable life moments. However, it’s important to make sure that we’re taking regular breaks from our phones and setting aside time to rest, relax and enjoy ourselves. Instead of missing out on what matters, it’s good to see that people are starting to find a balance that avoids us feeling burnt out.”
Fitness blogger and personal trainer, Bradley Simmonds, who took part in a 24-hour tech switch-off with Bupa UK, also commented: “Taking time away from technology to enjoy the moments you are in isn’t celebrated nearly enough. I am guilty of it as much as anyone. With messages and social media notifications popping up all the time, I find my phone is constantly to hand and checking it no matter where I am or what I’m doing. Turning it off or leaving it behind at times that should matter to us means we don’t ultimately don’t miss out and enjoy ourselves far more.”
The research from Bupa UK highlights the positive effects of taking time away from technology to ensure we are maximising our everyday.
Top tips for switching off include:
- Small steps: it’s not about going off-grid straight away, and you can see benefits from smaller breaks from technology. You can gradually increase these over time, once you’re used to the concept
- Escape the office: often we need to be on online for work, so try and factor in breaks – even if just for 15 minutes – to go screen-free. Why not take a walk or grab a coffee with a co-worker?
- Put it on silent: it’s often instinctive to grab your phone when you hear a text or email come through, so put your phone on silent to avoid distractions during your off-time
- Social media side-step: If you’re on more than one platform, take time out from one of them a week at a time, this will help cut down on your digital time
- Plan an escape: whether it’s an afternoon spend out with friends, or a full weekend exploring the countryside, pairing a tech timeout with something you enjoy can be really helpful. Not only will it keep you occupied to stop you from checking your phone, but it’ll help you realise how simple it can be to go without
For anyone that needs help switching off, or has a health or wellness concern, Bupa’s range of healthcare products and services are available on a pay as you go basis. It provides quick and easy access to expert advice and treatment without the need for health insurance or a contract. From GP appointments and physiotherapy, through to health assessments and consultations, you only pay for the services you use, when you need them.
For more information on Bupa pay as you go, visit /bupa-on-demand or search ‘Bupa PAYG’.
Notes to Editors
Research was carried out by 2,000 UK working residents in May 2017