Time for a Tech Timeout in 2014

Taking a break from digital devices could be the 'perfect' New Year's resolution for today's families

TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2013 /CNW/ - While the holidays are about spending time with family, chances are many Americans will receive new electronic devices this year.  In many households, they will be immediately plugged in and even brought to the dinner table.  While parents will probably be the ones giving these gifts, recent research suggests they would like more personal interaction with their children.  In fact, a recent survey revealed that 77% of parents age 25-55 who live with at least one family member believe that their family would benefit from taking a one hour break from technology every day and 45% of US residents age 25-55 would like to ban the use of technology entirely during the holidays.  The Tech Timeout survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive and sponsored by Foresters™ among 1,507 US residents age 25-55 years who live with at least one family member, explored the impact of technology on all aspects of family life.

With a brand new year approaching, setting limits on household technology use is a New Year's resolution that can have a positive impact on every member of the family.   The Tech Timeout survey was conducted as part of the Tech Timeout challenge, an initiative that started in North America and now includes the UK, to encourage families to take a daily scheduled break from their electronic devices and reconnect with each other in a more personal way.  Adopting the Tech Timeout challenge as a New Year's resolution is one simple way people can start fresh in 2014 and focus on family togetherness.

"Family well-being is something we take to heart at Foresters," said Kasia Czarski, senior vice president and chief membership and marketing officer, Foresters.  "This initiative addresses the growing concern that our attachment to digital devices may contribute to a sense of social isolation among families.  The survey results strongly demonstrate that many families now wish to disconnect from technology, and New Year's provides a great opportunity to start the Tech Timeout challenge and enjoy quality family time together."

Only 35% of these US residents have ever tried to set limits on the use of technology in their household so there's definitely a lot of room for improvement and the Tech Timeout challenge makes it easy.  Despite our growing reliance on all things digital, most families can commit to an hour a day for one week.  When it's over, they can talk about the experience and decide if it's something they would like to continue.  Additional insights from the survey include:

  • More than two-thirds (72%) of these parents admit that they overuse some form of electronic device
  • 61% of these parents find it at least somewhat annoying when family members are on electronic devices during the holidays
  • Over half (53%) of these parents said that technology has replaced traditional family games in their household

Foresters launched Tech Timeout to combat the negative effects of technology overload by taking a one hour break from technology every day.  Families are encouraged to enjoy 'low-tech' activities like reading, board games, or outdoor play. The goal is to help friends, parents and children form stronger bonds, communicate and become more involved in each other's lives. Foresters hosts information about the Tech Timeout along with inspirational quotes, informative videos and suggestions for non-tech related activities on TechTimeout.com and social media platforms like Facebook.

This Tech Timeout survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Foresters between October 10 and 22, 2013 among 1,507 residents of the United States, aged 25-55 years, who live with at least one family member. Of these respondents, 693 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 (US)
On behalf of Foresters
(414) 247-3808

Maria Ganogiannis (Canada) 
(416) 429-3000 ext 4096
1 800 461 8431 ext 4096

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