Ditch Your Device for a Day on UK Unplugging Day 2021
UK Unplugging Day takes place this year on Sunday 27th June and we’re encouraging everyone to join in! UK Unplugging Day is the one day in the year where everyone can join together to take part in a 24 hour digital detox.
During the past year it’s no wonder that all our time on devices increased exponentially. A surge in screen time during lockdown saw people in the UK spend 40% of their day watching TV and online video services, according to a study of the nation’s media habits in the pandemic. And even before the pandemic, both adults and children said they felt they spent too much time on their devices, particularly their smartphones. 54% of US. teens, in a study in 2018, said they spend too much time on their phones, with two-thirds of parents expressing concern over their teen’s screen time. And in the UK, 62% of polled adults have said they ‘hate’ how much time they spend on their phone.
So, UK Unplugging Day is a chance to reset your relationship with your devices, giving you some time and space to step back and think about how you’d like to better use them going forward. It’s on a Sunday, so that should make it a little bit easier to manage and we’re encouraging everyone nation-wide to take part – so you won’t be alone.
Why take part in UK Unplugging Day?
There’s a tonne of evidence pointing to how excess time on screens is impacting our physical and our mental health. We know, for example that the blue-light emanating from our digital devices causes sleep disruption. We know that simply having our smartphone nearby when we’re trying to focus and concentrate can actually reduce our IQ.
But it’s what we’re missing out on when we spend the majority of our day on a screen that we want to shine a spotlight on, particularly the time we miss out on being outside in nature, and the time we miss focusing on our relationships.
We’re passionate believers in the restorative power of getting out in nature and it has been part of our manifesto since our founding in 2014. Time in a green space has been shown to lower stress, blood pressure and heart rate, while also lifting our mood and boosting our mental health. Research from 2019 showed that just 20 minutes a day spent in a park — even if you don’t do any exercise — is enough to improve your well-being.
And our relationships are another thing that we could be focusing more on, when we spend more time off screens. More than half of UK adults (54%) in 2018 admitted that connected devices interrupted face-to-face conversations with friends and family. One study found that more than 17% of adults phub others (snub them by looking at their phone) with almost 32% of people complaining that they themselves are ‘phubbed‘ two to three times a day.
While it might not seem like a big deal when you pick up your phone when your partner, friend, or child is talking, research suggests that the habit of phubbing may be really hurting your relationships and your own mental health.
So, we think taking part in UK Unplugging Day this coming Sunday will benefit you in more ways than you might expect. It’s not just about taking time off screens, it’s also about boosting your mood and mental health and investing in your closest relationships.
If you’re worried about the FOMO – well, the fact that it’s a national day might help as there are going to be thousands of others going offscreen and giving it a go. Why not get your friends and family to take part too? By switching off on Sunday 27th June, you’ll be joining a growing global community of people who’ve found that regular, scheduled, time off screen benefits their physical and mental health, and indeed every aspect of their lives. Join in and tell us beforehand if you plan to using #UKUnpluggingDay on social media. Have fun!