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Parents Want Digital Detox This Holiday Season

Tamara E. Holmes
Parents Want Digital Detox This Holiday Season

For many, the holidays are a much-needed break from work and daily obligations to rest and spend time with family and friends. But a new survey suggests that many consumers also see the season as a time to take a break from their smartphones.

Online marketplace Groupon launched a campaign designed to get consumers to add group experiences to their holiday activities. As part of that campaign, it surveyed 2,000 parents to find out if time spent using digital devices could be reclaimed for family activities. The answer was a resounding “yes.”

The survey not only found that parents are chained to their digital devices, but it learned consumers are aware that they spend too much of their time glued to their smartphones. In fact, 80% of parents said they want to take a break from their devices this holiday season.

Digital devices eating up family time

While kids are looking under the Christmas tree, their parents are reaching for their phones. A majority of respondents (72%) admitted that one of the first things they do upon waking on Christmas Day is check their phones.

Consumers’ digital habits are even having a negative impact on their relationships, as 86% of parents said their child has complained about how much time they’ve spent on their phones in the past. More than half of respondents (53%) said they’ve even missed out on a bonding experience with their child because their attention was on a digital device.

With the average parent expecting to spend four hours a day on their digital devices during the holiday season, some respondents noted that the amount of time they spend connected to their devices increases during the holidays:

  • 51% of parents said they check social media more frequently during the holiday season
  • 43% said they spend more time on their phones on Christmas than any other day of the year

In fact, the amount of time the average parent spends using their digital devices over the course of the holiday season adds up to a whopping 80 hours, the equivalent of three-and-one-third days.

With some respondents committing to trying to change their ways, the survey also asked parents what family experiences they would plan to replace the time spent logging onto their devices. Their responses included:

  • Movies
  • Museums, aquariums and zoos
  • Traveling
  • Ice skating
  • Baking cookies

Among the holiday-specific activities were attending a holiday concert or light show, decorating the tree and singing Christmas carols.

Smartphones open a world of convenience, though they also can open a world of distraction. (For example, smartphones can contribute to distracted driving.) Taking time to put down your digital devices can give you an opportunity to be present. It can also help save money, as some studies have shown that online shopping can lead to impulsive purchases and overspending.