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Is it time for a digital detox?

Almost half of families are going on a ‘digital detox’ this summer – will you be joining them?

Most families are planning to put the screens down because they are worried their kids spend too much time on gadgets, a study has found. Although phones and tablets are a great way to keep the kids quiet for 10 minutes, parents now believe their children get too much screen time and rarely learn anything from it.

And children aren’t the only ones, with the typical household owning seven different devices, whittling away nine hours and 28 minutes a day on screens collectively.

Four in 10 families have looked to limit their gadget use because they feel they don’t spend enough time together, with an equal number saying the devices mean they don’t talk enough as a family.

But the study of 2,000 parents, which was commissioned by musicMagpie, found that while two in five have previously attempted a digital detox, just half of these would describe it as a success.

“Technology has transformed family life over the years,” said musicMagpie’s marketing director Liam Howley. “We can stay in touch over great distances, co-ordinate our diaries, research homework, and of course, play games and watch TV and videos when we want to.

“However, our study found that almost half of families will be implementing a ‘digital detox’ this summer, because many parents are worried about the amount of time their kids are spending on their devices.

“The research also revealed that families spend nearly nine and a half hours on their screens per day, so limiting device use and getting back to basics over the holidays gives the chance to unplug and do other activities in replacement.”

Researchers found the dinner table is the most popular location for a digital detox, with 58 per cent of parents implementing a ban at mealtimes. Half confiscate tech in the home, with 46 per cent doing so during a dinner outing and one in five enforce a ban on a day trip away from home.

Four in 10 will also try and cut back on the use of gadgets while on a family holiday with the same number more likely to have a digital detox during the summer.

In fact, 81 per cent of parents agree kids should be outside during the nice weather instead of indoors playing on their devices.

A digital detox will often last just a couple of hours for 35 per cent of families, with just over one in five making it to as much as a couple of days without devices. As a result of their technology ban, 45 per cent of parents have found they have talked more as a family and 35 per cent even learnt something new about their kids.

Further to that, three in 10 agreed their children seemed happier thanks to the time away from their gadgets and four in 10 mums and dads admitted THEY felt happier.

One quarter simply felt closer as a family unit.

But four in 10 parents found the house became too quiet following the tech ban and just under a third of families ended up feeling bored without their screen time entertainment. What’s more, almost half of mums and dads confessed to breaking the ban themselves, giving in to their desire to use their tech.

Howley added: “It’s not surprising to see that many parents break the tech ban themselves, giving into their need to use their devices, especially when it comes to work emails and messages, with some households even giving in after becoming too bored. However, many parents agreed that summer is the ideal time to enforce a family digital detox as it offers the time for everyone involved to do something different.”