As we become ever-more obsessed with our smartphones and tablet computers, the need to go offline by taking a digital detox break increases. However, a recent study has shown that despite our best efforts, the majority of us succumbs to turning our gadgets back on in less than a day.
The survey of 2,466 British people (all of whom had been on holiday in the previous 12 months) by online travel agent sunshine.co.uk showed that 49 per cent of respondents had planned to do a digital detox when away. However, 88 per cent of them failed within just six hours of unpacking their suitcase.
The top five reasons for returning to their screens was to check or post on social media (32 per cent), to read or reply to work emails (27 per cent), forgetting they were trying to break the habit (21 per cent), they needed to call or send a message back home (16 per cent) or simply boredom (2 per cent).
To make matters worse, once reattached to their smartphones and laptops, 54 per cent of travellers reported using them even more than they did back home.
This compulsive behaviour shows the addictive nature of technology in our lives – 79 per cent of people said they felt addicted to their phones, while 58 per cent felt addicted to social media.
Chris Clarkson, managing director of sunshine.co.uk, said: “Many people see their phones as their connection to the world back home and they find it hard to leave that behind; whether it’s due to a fear of missing out on all of the latest goings-on on social media, needing to check in with work or for other reasons.
“With that said though, it’s important that you at least try and give technology a wide berth during your holiday; after all, it’s probably the only chance you might get to do so, because it’s much harder to do at home.”
Responding to the fact that humans seem to find it almost impossible to self-impose digital detox holidays, some resorts are offering wifi-free stays and tailored packages to help us unplug.
A new digital detox holiday company called Time to Log Off arranges no-internet retreats around the world – the next ones are in Italy (May 21-28), Cornwall (June 17-24) and Hawaii in October.
Guests must live entirely “off-grid” except for access to an emergency landline, practise mindfulness techniques such as colouring, hiking and yoga, and take part in “flow” activities such as kite-making and dancing.
“Time To Log Off retreats and workshops offer a chance to disconnect from your digital devices and reconnect with the world offline, leaving you relaxed and energised to return to your daily life,” says the website.