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Foresters Asks: Are We a Nation of Digital Addicts?

"Growing numbers of adults and children alike are at risk of becoming 'digital addicts', dedicating so much time to technology they are neglecting to spend enough time socialising beyond the screen" --Steve Dilworth, Foresters.
    KENT, ENGLAND, February 25, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Fears that we are a nation of digital addicts1 is being tackled by member-focused financial services organisation Foresters, with their Tech Timeout initiative which encourages families to pledge to spend at least one hour a day together without technology.

The benefits are families spending more quality time together, as well as helping with their health and well-being.

Research2 shows that there is real concern about addiction to digital devices with almost a fifth of parents (16%) believing their under 16-year-olds are "addicted" to gadgets and more than a quarter (26%) believing their children would feel lost without them.

To support their Tech Timeout campaign, Foresters carried out independent research3 which revealed that:
- 55% of families wish they could spend more time together as a family without technology;
- 61% of adults believe that just an hour a day without technology would increase family communications;
- 38% felt it would improve family relationships;
- according to their parents' estimates, children spend seven hours a day on technology, amounting to over two full days a week (49 hours);
- adults spend an average of 64 hours a week plugged in to technology, and almost half of adults (44%) admit that they would struggle to manage without their smartphone;
- nearly a fifth (18%) are guilty of checking their work emails during the weekend, with one in ten always doing so.

Further research4 shows that:
- Whilst children are now becoming computer literate at a younger and younger age, with 62% of children aged 3-5 able to turn a computer off and on and 47% able to navigate a smartphone or tablet, they are perhaps developing these important tech skills at the expense of reaching other significant milestones in their early years. Comparably, only 58% of these children are able to ride a bike, 38% able to write both their first and last names, 23% swim unaided and 25% know what to do in an emergency;
- 66% of parents believe that time spent online takes away from children "learning other more important life skills", and whilst 75% said technology helps children develop motor skills, a similar percentage (70%) recognised "too much screen time" could be hindering their child's development.

If these statistics aren't enough, an article in The Telegraph5 in December last year reported that:
- the average person checks their phone 200 times a day;
- 25% of Britons spend longer online each day than they do asleep;
- 73% of us would struggle to go the whole day without our phones or computers.

Steve Dilworth, Managing Director, Member Network UK Foresters, comments: "With technology use on the rise, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep our digital habits in check. Growing numbers of adults and children alike are at risk of becoming 'digital addicts', dedicating so much time to technology they are neglecting to spend enough time socialising beyond the screen.

"Technology has brought a great many improvements to our lives, and has undoubtedly become an important part of family life. However, our research suggests that the average family will only spend 4.4 hours in a weekend socialising together without digital devices, which can have a real affect on the family dynamic as well as children's development.

"We urge people to sign up to the Tech Timeout pledge, even just for one week, to see the difference it makes. There are so many more things they could be doing from playing cards and board games, to gardening or even having a day out at the park with a picnic and games. The site has lots of useful suggestions as to what you can do, from playing with a pet to volunteering; taking a bike ride to looking at a family photograph album etc."

To find out more, visit www.techtimeout.com.

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_addict
2 http://www.itv.com/news/update/2014-01-16/tech-savvy-children-the-new ... f-gadgets/
3 Over 1,100 people across the UK responded to an online survey in November 2013, conducted by Wriglesworth Research
4 http://www.avg.com/digitaldiaries/homepage
5 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/10540261/screen-time-ipad-table ... ction.html

At Foresters we believe in enriching the lives of our members, their families and the communities they live in. We're member-based, family-focused, and community spirited.

Our products benefit both your family and your community. We champion the well-being of families through quality financial products, unique member benefits and inspiring community activities.

We share our financial strength with over one million members across the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. Throughout our 140-year history, our purpose has been to enrich the lives of members, their families and communities. The priorities remain today and will guide our future.

As an example, our work with Cash for Kids in their 2013 Mission Christmas Appeal helped over 278,000 children to have a better Christmas. The whole campaign raised GBP8m and involved 1,463 Foresters volunteers.

Forester Life is responsible for funds under management of over GBP2.9bn* and is part of Foresters, the international financial services organisation.

Internationally, Foresters has over GBP13bn* funds under management and has been assigned an 'A' excellent rating by A.M. Best.**

Safeguarding our members' interests is at the heart of what we do. Being financially strong and responsive, with sound governance and continuing professional service have always helped us to protect our members' benefits.

*As at 30th September 2013

**An 'A' excellent rating is assigned to companies that have a strong ability to meet their ongoing obligations to policyholders and have, on balance, excellent balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile when compared to the standards established by A.M. Best Company. In assigning Foresters rating A.M. Best stated that Foresters outlook rating is 'stable', which means it is unlikely to change in the near future, assuming Foresters financial strength is maintained and operations grow. A.M. Best assigns rating from A++ to F, A++ being superior and A and A- being excellent ratings. This rating was assigned on 3rd July 2013. Our International Head Office is located at 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9.


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Steve Dilworth
Foresters UK

Bromley, Kent
UK
Voice: 0208 628 3400
E-Mail: Email Us Here
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