Brits failed to take a ‘tech’ break this summer
The summer is almost over, the kids are back at school. But did the family manage to switch off and relax over the holidays?
Probably not, according to research by BT which shows a third (33 per cent) of working Brits check work emails or voicemails while away. While, two in five (41 per cent) Brits admit to logging onto social networking sites when holidaying with friends and family.
And sometimes we log on sneakily when we think no one’s looking. One in four (25 per cent) of those who check work communications on holiday admit that checking work emails or calls annoys family and friends, so they either do it when they’re not looking or try to finish as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile teenagers and the younger demographic simply can’t get enough of social networking sites. Of the 18 – 34 year old age group, 66 per cent “check in” to sites such as Facebook at least once or twice while on holiday. That’s a lot of virtual check-ins going on when families should be enjoying checking into their hotels/B&Bs/campsites in the real world.
“Technology has improved our ability to keep in touch constantly, which is obviously a great thing. However, if you can’t stop yourself logging on or texting and it’s affecting your personal relationships, then you need to think twice,” says Corinne Sweet, celebrity psychologist.
Take our quiz
So are you or your kids technology addicts? Click on the infographics banner below to take our quiz to find out:
If you or your family’s technology addiction is worse than you thought all is not lost. To help adults and children maintain a ‘Balanced Communications Diet’, BT has identified a ‘five a day’ set of recommendations:
The Balanced Communications Diet
Be aware – before you can make any changes, you need to understand how you and your family are using technology.
Many families who took part in the research were surprised and at times dismayed by their technology habits. Keeping a log of your family’s use of technology will help you identify good and bad habits and also changes you may want to make.
Location, location, location – think about where technology is located in the home.
Parents often complained that their children abandoned family time to go on the computer or video game console in their room.
Similarly, children reported feeling that they lost out on parents’ attention when they were ’quickly’ checking up on work in the home office. Keeping computers and consoles in a central location will allow your family to share what they are doing online, or at least all be in the same place while using technology.
Have rules – Set some boundaries about how, when and where technology is used.
The research showed that rules around technology usage reduced anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed. The rules are up to you: try removing technology from the dinner table, organise a family games evening either with or without technology, use parental controls to manage use of social networks or the time spent on the family computer, or agree limits on the number of text messages sent in a day. Just remember, whatever rules are introduced, it’s important to talk them through and agree them as a family – and parents sometimes need just as many rules as children.
Education – be a good example: teach and demonstrate the importance of balance and safety in the way technology is used.
For example, avoid checking your smart phone unnecessarily when with your family. It’s easy for children to pick up bad habits from you.
In addition, children are using technology at an increasingly early age and teaching safe and responsible use is vital from the outset, it’s important to make sure your children are taking the right steps to keep themselves safe.
Find your Balance
Don’t be concerned by overly positive or negative hype about communications technology. Every family and individual uses technology differently. We hope that this advice helps you find a healthy balance for you so that you have control of technology and are making the most of all forms of communication whether it’s by phone, email, social media or face-to-face.
Download the reports
Do you think you or your family use social media websites too much? Or are constantly texting or online? Let us know below.
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