More Screen Time Than Family Time Charity Research Finds
11 August 2016 at 4:00 pm
A new national survey from suicide prevention Not for Profit R U OK? has revealed Australians spend more time watching their TV and computer screens each week than with their loved ones.
The research found that Australians spend an average of 46 hours of their weekly downtime looking at their TVs and digital devices, compared to an average of six hours engaging with family and friends.
The charity research has also revealed that around half of all Australians spend two hours or less of their weekly downtime connecting with the people who matter to them.
R U OK? campaign director Rebecca Lewis said the research highlighted that Australians are more intimately acquainted with their devices than the highs and lows of their families’ and friends’ lives.
“It’s a big wakeup call that we’re spending almost eight times the amount of hours looking at our screens compared to the time we spend engaging with the people who matter to us,” Lewis said.
“We all need to shift that balance and invest some of our screen time into our relationships and the people around us.”
The survey also revealed that while Australians want to spend more quality time connecting with family and friends, distance (38 per cent), being too tired or lacking energy (28 per cent), being busy with other activities (20 per cent), catching up on housework (19 per cent), or long work hours (18 per cent) are the main obstacles preventing that outcome.
R U OK? board director, and executive director of the Black Dog Institute, Professor Helen Christensen said finding time in busy schedules for relationships was critical.
“Connecting with people we care about is so important for maintaining good mental health. We know that strong and caring connections with friends and family provide a vital safety net to help people cope with the challenging moments in life,” Christensen said.
“Conversely, withdrawing from social engagement is often a sign of poor mental health and this is the time when loved ones need to stay connected, no matter how difficult it may be.”
Lewis said setting aside quality time for those we care about makes it easier to start a conversation if you sense they’re not doing so well.
“It takes trust and understanding for someone to open up about what they’re going through. Being there for one another, in both the good and bad times, is the key for building that trust.”