By Christine Grant (Christine.firstname.lastname@example.org ), August 2016:
Dr Christine Grant, Principal Lecturer and Occupational Psychologist, School of Psychological, Social and Behavioural Sciences, HLS, was invited onto the BBC News Breakfast couch on 4 August 2016 to discuss a newly released OFCOM report on internet usage. Also present for the discussion was an independent consultant who had written a book on digital detoxing. The main theme of the discussion centred on the report findings suggesting that internet usage was detracting from people’s personal and working lives, leading to time spent away from family and friends. The survey completed by OFCOM of 2025 adults and 500 teenagers estimated that 1 in 3 adult internet users (34%) had sought relief through a ‘digital detox’, seeking a period of time away from technology to improve their lives.
Christine was asked for her views on ameliorating the impact of technology, and based on her research over the last 10 years advised that greater self-awareness can help to identify negatively perceived behaviours and that technology use can be moderated through self-regulation, adjusting our behaviours accordingly. For example, considering when boundaries between work and non-work activities have been crossed and to consider strategies to switch off at appropriate times. She suggested that we should also consider individual preferences when working with others as this can also help to moderate our behaviours. Also briefly discussed was that some organisations across Europe are adopting policies on handling email use, such as reducing access to email in the evenings and at weekends, Christine advised that, although these types of policies are attractive, a ‘one size fits all’ solution can fail to meet individual differences.