technology attachment

Canadians More Likely to Disconnect from Technology, Survey Shows

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At a time when life seems to be all about being connected, and many people have an issue with technology attachment and feel completely bereft if they are not digitally connected to the rest of the world, it is pleasing to see that there are some places and people who still find it easy, and socially acceptable to disconnect.

According to just-released GfK research, Canadians are among the most empowered consumers globally when it comes to putting down their smartphones and turning off the TV.

In the study of 22,000 people in 17 countries, Canada was one of only seven nations where people were more likely to firmly disagree than firmly agree with the statement, “I find it difficult to take a break from technology, … even when I know I should.” While more than 40% of consumers in China, Brazil, and Argentina said it is hard to disconnect from their devices, the level in Canada was just 23%.

On the other, 27% of Canadians said they firmly disagree with that statement – meaning they have little or no trouble with technology attachment and are able to put down their devices when they need to. That ties Canada (with Russia) for 4th among the countries most likely to disagree with the “technology breaks” statement.

In Canada, gender seems to make little difference when it comes to unplugging from devices; 22% of women and 23% of men agree that they find it difficult to take a break from technology. Women are slightly more likely (28% versus 26%) to disagree with the “taking tech breaks” statement.

Younger age groups struggle most with technology attachment

Canadian consumers under age 40 have the greatest struggle with disconnecting from their devices. Over three in ten (34%) of those 20 to 29 years old say they have trouble taking tech breaks; the 15-to-19 and 30-to-39 age groups are not far behind, at 32% and 31% respectively. These are the only three age groups where agreement with the “trouble taking tech breaks” statement is higher than disagreement.

On the other hand, the 50-to-59 and 60-plus age groups in Canada have the highest percentage (36% each) of respondents who firmly disagree that it is difficult to take a break from technology. Only 9% of those 60+ agree with that statement, and 16% of the 50-to-59 age group.

High-income households have most trouble taking tech breaks

Canadian consumers in high-income households (the top 25%, in terms of household earnings) struggle most with disconnecting digitally; 26% in this group firmly agree that it is difficult to take a break from their devices, while only 20% disagree. By comparison, in low-income households (the lowest-earning 25%), disagreement (29%) with the statement is more common than agreement (22%).

A complimentary report showing findings by gender, age and income for each of the 17 countries is available here: www.gfk.com/global-studies/global-study-overview/

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Eric T. Tung

Eric T. Tung is the director of digital communications for GoTo Marketers, a top-rated social media strategist and consultant, and dad. He has worked with some of the leading companies in the world on digital communications and employment branding, and makes a mean smoked brisket. Eric is based in Houston, Texas, and you can find him on most channels as EricTTung.