Survey reveals a majority of Canadian parents wish to ban technology during holiday meals

TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2013 /CNW/ - Holiday dinners should be a time for conversation and family togetherness but too often, they are interrupted by digital devices. In fact, a new survey revealed that 71% of Canadian parents age 25-55 wish they could ban the use of technology during family holiday meals. The Tech Timeout survey - conducted online by Harris Interactive and sponsored by Foresters™ among 1,021 Canadian residents age 25-55 years who live with at least one family member - explored the impact of technology on all aspects of family life.

The survey was conducted as part of the Tech Timeout challenge, an initiative that encourages families to take a daily scheduled break from their electronic devices and reconnect with each other in a more personal way.  Foresters, an international life insurance provider, launched Tech Timeout earlier this year to encourage families to think about their reliance on technology.

"Foresters purpose is to enhance the well-being of families, and Tech Timeout is designed to bring families together and provide a daily opportunity for them to reconnect," says Kasia Czarski, senior vice president and chief membership and marketing officer, Foresters. "The survey results reinforce our belief that our dependence on technology can lead to a sense of social isolation within families. The holidays naturally bring people together so they're an ideal time to remind families to put down their devices and spend some time together tech-free."

A majority of these Canadians (64%) agreed that the overuse of technology has had a negative impact on family life. Other important findings from the survey include:

  • Nearly two thirds (65%) of these Canadians believe their family would benefit from taking a one hour break every day from technology
  • 56% of these Canadian residents find others' use of electronic devices during family mealtimes at least somewhat annoying
  • Nearly half (46%) would like to ban the use of technology during family holidays entirely
  • On average, these Canadians admit to spending 5.4 hours per day on electronic devices outside of work

People can visit TechTimeout.com to sign the digital pledge wall or print and sign a pledge form to display. To date, more than 10,000 people have signed the pledge. Families are also encouraged to share stories about the impact of technology on their lives on Facebook (Facebook.com/TechTimeout). With almost 17,000 fans, the Tech Timeout Facebook page serves as a gathering place for inspiration and stories about the overuse of technology.

Foresters launched Tech Timeout in February of 2013 to combat the negative effects of technology overload. The Tech Timeout challenge encourages families to take a daily break from technology by disconnecting from all things electronic for one hour per day for a week. Families are encouraged to enjoy 'low-tech' activities like reading, board games, volunteering, outdoor play or just talking to each other. The goal is to help spouses, parents and children form stronger bonds, communicate more consistently and become more involved in each other's lives.

Methodology
This Tech Timeout survey was conducted online within the United States and Canada by Harris Interactive on behalf of Foresters between October 10-22, 2013 among 1,507 residents of the United States and 1,021 residents of Canada, aged 25-55 years who live with at least one family member. Of these respondents, 693 in the U.S. and 492 in Canada are parents of children under age 18. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Susan Perkins at sperkins@bvk.com.

About Foresters
Foresters™ is a life insurance provider with a difference.  The fraternal benefit society, founded in 1874, supports family well-being through quality products, unique member benefits and inspiring community activities. Foresters shares its financial strength with over one million members in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.  For more information, visit foresters.com.

Foresters™ is the trade name and a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal benefit society, 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9; its subsidiaries are licensed to use this mark.

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for The Harris Poll®, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research across a wide range of industries. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing a client's research investment. Serving clients worldwide through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help our clients stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

SOURCE: Foresters

For further information:

For media inquiries, please contact: 

Jenny Pandl
BVK
414-247-3808
jpandl@bvk.com

Maria Ganogiannis
T (416) 429 3000 x4096
T 800 461 8431 x4096 Toll-free (NA)
mganogiannis.@foresters.com

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