Feel overwhelmed by communications technology? We reveal the Balanced Communications Diet
A new study sponsored by BT shows that one in three people have felt overwhelmed by communications technology.
The international study, led by the University of Cambridge, found that one in three people has felt overwhelmed by communications technology, including texting, email and social networking, to the point that they feel they need to escape it.
But it’s not all bad news – as part of the study, we’ve identified some simple steps to help improve your well-being and to avoid technology overwhelming family life.
The key findings
Despite most families seeing communications technology as a positive tool, the study shows that feeling overwhelmed by communications technology is similar for adults and children, with 38% of 10 – 18 years old claiming to feel this way and 25 – 34 year olds not far behind, with 34% of that age group feeling overwhelmed.
The survey of 1,269 people and in-depth interviews with families in the UK showed that those people who have felt overwhelmed are also more likely to feel less satisfied with their life as a whole – and people who felt in control of their use of communications technology were more likely to be more satisfied with life.
Communications for kids
The research also shows that children in the UK still prefer to communicate face-to-face, dispelling the myth that they only communicate through technology.
Moreover, 65% of those surveyed in the UK cited face-to-face conversation as their preferred method of communication. This was actually found to be almost the same for both adults (65%) and children (64%).
Other findings in the UK include:
- 36% of parents surveyed found that technology at least sometimes disrupted family life
- Three in five people (58%) said that they felt their family would benefit from having technology-free time when all communications technology was switched off
- Nearly one in five people (19%) use communication technology for more than seven hours a day
- Around a third (37%) thought their use of communications technology would increase in the future and half (54%) said that they believe they will be using the same amount of communication technology
Controlling your usage
The study found that many people are trying to control their technology usage, with 36% of adults and 43% of young people (aged 10–18) taking steps to limit their usage. Just under half (42%) of adults and children surveyed said they wanted to reduce their usage of social networking sites, this was followed by a reduction in sending text messages (20%), and then emails (19%).
Professor John Clarkson, director of the Engineering Design Centre at the University of Cambridge and Principal Investigator of the study, said:
“There is much discussion about whether communications technology is affecting us for the better or worse. The research has shown that communications technology is seen by most as a positive tool but there are examples where people are not managing usage as well as they could be – it is not necessarily the amount but the way in which it is used.”
Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT Retail, added:
“…the research revealed that technology itself is not the problem. Compare it to food. To stay healthy, you need to eat a balanced diet. The same is true when it comes to using technology; you need to find a balance which works for you. To help with this, we are launching the Balanced Communications Diet, our equivalent of the five a day you need to help maintain a healthy relationship with technology.”
Download the reports
The Balanced Communications Diet
Technology is changing the way we communicate, work and play – follow our Balanced Communications Diet to make sure you’re getting your recommended daily dose of technology.
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