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Technology Ofcom Digital Detox

15m Briton’s embrace a ‘digital detox’ to escape modern life

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By John Glenday | Reporter

August 4, 2016 | 3 min read

Britons are increasingly resorting to going cold turkey to spare themselves from a constant barrage of 24/7 news, social media updates and emails.

The rise of the so called ‘digital detox’ has been charted by an Ofcom report which found that a third of internet users, some 15 million people, have sought to take a conscious breather from all forms of digital communication in an effort to stay sane.

This sees people voluntarily switch off for as much as a month by stying away from the web and connected devices to embrace a simpler life.

The media regulator found that of 2,525 people quizzed half admitted to spending longer online than offline in a typical day with a quarter of teenagers polled admitting that being online is an excuse for being late to school.

Adults fare little better with four in ten complaining that they were regularly ignored by a friend or relative too engrossed in their smartphone or tablet whilst the average adult 25 hours per week of their life to online activities.

For the most addicted, some one in ten, this saw them access internet services at least 50 times each day.

Conscious that this could become a problem, a quarter of respondents said they deliberately forego the internet for between 12 and 24 hours at a time whilst a tenth did so for up to a week – although the numbers doing so for longer were far smaller.

Instead, people chose to use this time to do other things (44 per cent) and meet with friends and family (38 per cent).

But what does a rise of digital detoxes among people mean for brands? Digital agency Zone's UK chief executive Jon Davie believes it's an opportunity for brands to do things differently.

"Some might want to be the people who do step away from the always-on world, or do stuff to suggest to people that they put down their phones and get out into the real world," he explained.

"But there is no single answer about what does this mean for brands, because branding is about differentiation – and different brands have to find different views, different opinions and different ways of communicating from each other. Look at Persil’s Dirt Is Good app. The Persil brand position behind campaign is about getting kids into the outside, getting dirty, and they’ve been able to use mobile as a way of delivering content to parents to encourage them to get outside with their kids and explore the world around them. Perfect example of a differentiated brand message, which has an outcome of getting consumers to embrace digital detox in the outside world.”

Technology Ofcom Digital Detox

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