A study by a team of university researchers suggests technology fatigue is setting in, with one in three people feeling the need to escape messaging and social network services.
The research, conducted by the University of Cambridge for BT, found a fairly even spread in fatigue among age groups ranging from ten years old to 34, with 38% of 10-18 year olds reporting they feel overwhelmed by the mass of communications, and 34% in the 25 to 34 year bracket.
Of the 1,269 people surveyed, 65% said they still prefer one-to-one conversations to online communication, and 42% are actively trying to cut their use of social networks. A further 20% say they are cutting back on text messaging, and 19% e-mails.
Professor John Clarkson, director of the University’s engineering design centre, says the majority of UK families see communication technology as a boon, and that those who try to escape typically aren’t “managing usage as well as they could be.” He suggests that it is not the technology itself that poses a problem “but the way in which it is used.”
However, 58% of families surveyed said their lives would be better for switching off all communications technology for set periods, and 36% of parents claim technology disrupts family life.
BT Retail chief Gavin Patterson believes the public will benefit from a more balanced approach to usage. “Compare it to food. To stay healthy, you need to eat a balanced diet,” he notes.