UK parents pledging to ditch smartphones!

Families and individuals are encouraged to take a break from technology on 28 June 2015

In celebration of the second annual National Unplugging Day in the UK on Sunday 28 June 2015, http://www.MyFamilyClub.co.uk is asking individuals and families to put down their smartphones, tablets and computers for 24 hours to experience life unplugged.

Parenting experts warn that digital distractions are harming relationships, stopping the young from developing face-to-face communication skills and teaching children that disappearing into digital devices for hours, is a healthy and acceptable activity.

The leading parenting website MyFamilyClub.co.uk have carried out a study with over 6,000 parents from across the UK which has some striking statistics, finding the average parent with a smartphone, uses it 240 times a day – on emails, texts and social media. That’s equivalent to four hours a day stranded down the rabbit hole that is the internet.

Typically parents’ first click on their phone between 7-8 am with 20% of parents clicking on before 6am and 22% of parents making midnight their last click at night.

Half of the parents MyFamilyClub surveyed (47%) are logging into Facebook or other social media before doing anything else – our eyes are glued to our phones even before we get out of bed or to attend to the kids!

Gemma Johnson CEO and Founder of MyFamilyClub.co.uk says: “As a parent I experience the struggle trying to juggle work and family life and the additional demands of existing in a digital world. We all lead busy lives but it is so important to lead by example with our device usage, boundaries are set by the parents first We want to encourage the nation to put away their digital devices, unplug and pledge to spend time doing something different with their children such as going out for a bike ride, going the park, learning a new activity or taking a walk in the woods.”

Johnson adds: We are encouraging people to unplug and engage in life without a digital connection and be present for our children. I’m urging all individuals to check how much they are using technology and look at the impact it is having on those around you. I certainly didn’t realise how much time I was spending on my smart phone until my oldest son pointed it out, this is why this campaign is so important to me.”

The statistics also revealed that over half of parents sleep next to their smartphone and the survey concludes that parents are ever increasingly showing the signs of smartphone addiction.

As smartphones invade our daily activities, parents are increasingly less present and available for their children and mental health officials are very worried on the long term effects this may have on our children.

Leading Psychologist Dr Kimberley Young who runs the Internet Addiction Clinic believes parents need to be aware of the effects technology can have on children from birth. Dr Young comments:

“Children have access to the internet almost from birth now. They see their parents playing on their mobile devices and they want to play too. Sometimes I think advice on internet use should be part of antenatal classes. “Don’t leave your iPad around because if you do, and children see all the pretty colours they will want to use it too. It’s difficult, because having a device can also be very useful in terms of having a reward, having a pacifier. But if you don’t get the balance right it can be very dangerous.”

The National Day of Unplugging recognises the value and importance of technology in today’s society whilst trying to encourage people (especially families and young children, the connected generations who have grown up with ever-present technology), to be more mindful of their digital usage. This day is not intended to be a one-off, but rather a starting point to encourage people of all ages to embrace a healthy lifestyle by regularly setting aside time away from their digital devices.

To set families up for success during the National Unplugging Day on 28 June, MyFamilyClub is offering tips and advice to families who want to enjoy technology free family time. Individuals and families are invited to get involved with the campaign sharing what they plan to do when not using technology on this day by entering a host of competitions in the lead up to the day and / or uploading a photo to MyFamilyClub’s social media platforms using the following hashtag #GoGadgetFree #Unplug2015

9 thoughts on “UK parents pledging to ditch smartphones!

  • 19th May 2015 at 7:32 am
    Permalink

    Me and my family will be playing board games and doing some arts and crafts – it’s going to be one messy fun day
    if it’s nice out then we will do the same but in the garden and get a few garden games out also along with a little picnic

    Reply
  • 20th May 2015 at 9:00 am
    Permalink

    This is ridiculous. One day will change nothing. People need to prioritise and ensure they conduct healthy lives every day.
    Interacting with children in sport, playing games, sharing daily family my meals should form part of everyday life, not just one day a year!!!

    Reply
    • 20th May 2015 at 9:43 am
      Permalink

      Hi Robin,

      Thank you for your comment, we are not implying that this should be done just one day a year. We are marking it as a day where we can all come together and celebrate spending quality time off-line. I totally agree that there should be healthy habits from the start but life doesn’t always work like that and the truth is, society is on the brink of digital addiction. Many people are doing what they can, when they can. This day is to be seen as a celebration and to build awareness around digital usage and how we can make positive changes for the benefit of our families and ourselves.

      Reply
  • Pingback: UK parents pledging to ditch smartphones on June 28 for National Unplugging Day « Milton Keynes Mums

  • 20th May 2015 at 1:20 pm
    Permalink

    I think this is a great idea, I’ve only just seen this, but I’m also a little confused, you’re encouraging people to switch off technology (great) but in your last paragraph you’re encouraging people to use it

    Reply
    • 20th May 2015 at 1:26 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Bruce, thank you very much for your comment. I agree it may come across as confusing.

      What we are aiming for is to encourage ‘awareness’ around digital usage and to help parents get balance back into their lives when living in a digital age. With 1 in 5 mums (according to BabyCentre) admitting they are addicted to their smartphones, we appreciate there is a growing issue around balancing the offline needs of the family and individual themselves and the need and desire to be connected.

      We want to encourage parents to learn how to master their digital usage rather than to be controlled by their devices, we are not saying NO TECH, we are promoting the need for rules and boundaries around tech usage to ensure a good example is set for children but also there is a health/mental benefit for the parent too.

      Hope this makes sense?

      Our site has only been up for a few days, we are working on more articles and tip sheets which will hopefully make our mission and objectives clearer. Thanks again for your feedback, we really do appreciate all comments.

      Reply
  • 20th May 2015 at 1:51 pm
    Permalink

    Hi there I think its a lovely idea, I am a new children’s author encouraging outdoor play and adventure together, I think its good to connect but also have time one on one no distractions. My first book is out soon and has a fun contract at the back to have at least one adventure together, its not about saying that gadgets are wrong they are great and connect people that wouldn’t otherwise of been connected, (we have so much information at our finger tips) its about having a healthy balance and not forgetting that connection our kids need not just with each other but to also take time to connect, discover and play in nature too.

    Reply
  • 20th May 2015 at 2:09 pm
    Permalink

    Nice idea but your kinda using technology to spread the idea and kinda needs the technology to see, read and act on it?

    Defeats the object, sort of!

    How are you anticipating dealing with the tantrums as I attempt to turn off my 16 yr old, 18 and 21 yr old iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, Netflix, and Spotify off??

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *