What motivates people to spend less time online?

Reading time: 7 minutes, from Christian Hitzl, July 2022 

What are the needs of people, what is the current knowledge of the Digital Detox topic, and how much awareness of the digital consumption exists? With the first Primary Research on this topic, we wanted to find out more about:

  • Do people know Digital Detox?
  • Do people spend too much time online?
  • What motivates people to spend less time online?
  • What are additional ideas? 

digital detox survey results 

In our survey from 2022, we have done a primary research on the topic of digital detox. What motivates people to spend less time online – 427 valid responses; confidence level = 95%; level of significance = 5%; margin of error = +/-5%

Our team from Digital-Detoxing has done a scientific survey together with the Technical University of OTH Amberg-Weiden.  The goal was to figure out what motivates people to spend less time online. This survey was done during the period starting from the 9th of May 2022 until the 23rd of June 2022. For compliance with scientific acceptance, a minimum of 384 participants is needed. Happily, we collected a total of 427 valuable responses within this time. The survey was available in six different languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Polish and Dutch. As working with scientific standards, we can confirm that the results are 95% true.

Is Digital Detox known?

know digital detoxThe first question we have asked is: Do people know Digital Detox and the concept behind it? Three answers were provided: Yes, I know Digital Detox / I have heard of it / No, I have not heard of Digital Detox. We wanted to know if the phrase of Digital Detox is completely new within our society or is it widespread. For a better understanding of Digital Detox, where it comes from and what it means – more info can be found in our own article here.

84% of the 427 participants have heard of the digital detox and knew the phrase before. Around 16% admitted that the concept and the idea behind digital detox was completely new to them.

Do you have the feeling of spending too much time online?

We can confirm that over 85% of respondents feel that they are spending too much time online. By asking the participants of our survey if they spend too much time online, the task was to reflect your own feelings on the scale from 1 (No, I don’t spend too much time online) to 8 (Yes, I spend too much time online).

what motivates people to spend less time online By not providing a mean value, we were able to prove that people have the feeling of spending too much time online. 11.8% stated out, that the time spent online is way too high (marked as 8).  A clear tendency is seen and this verifies why Digital-Detoxing Team must create more awareness about this subject and why digital detox is so needed nowadays. The peak reached at the mark of six (35%), and followed by seven (28%) and eight (11%). This might be explaining the success of each tech company, as their goal is user retention.

What motivates people to spend less time online?

A mixture of 36 answers were provided, which all participants could choose from. In the statistic below, we display 12 out of the 36, to show what motivates people to spend less time online (percentage). We have divided the 36 answers in six different fields according to the six dimension of wellness. Those six categories are Intellectual, Spiritual, Social, Occupational, Physical and Emotional. Each of the six fields had six different subcategories assigned, with that we have tried to identify a first tendency.

what motivates people to spend less time online?

Two third of all participants are seeking a better work-life-balance, which was the most clicked answer of all. This indicates, when balancing the work time and the free time better, a motivation of less screen time would occur. Also, we validated that the quality and the quantity of sleep is highly influenced by the screen time. To increase the quality of sleep motivates 62% of people to spend less time online. Overall, using time better or differently was mentioned in many variations, for example spending more time with family (54%) or improving social engagement. By that, the time factor influences the online time the most. On the other side, almost no motivation for spending less time online is to prevent conflicts in work life (8%) or to reach for a higher purpose (finding Enlightenment, 14%). Dividing the results in the six dimensions of wellness, the least number of people is seeking for spiritual wellness, as the least answers were collected.

Interestingly, being less stressed was only clicked by 40%, as a higher connection was predicted (Wang etc.). The level of physical health changed because of the time spend online, especially during the period of Covid-19 (Martinelli etc.). Therefore, people start to feel radiation (read about: electrosensitive) and a lack of personal fitness level. Spending less time outside is often compensated with more online time.

What would encourage you to spend less time online?

Additionally, we have asked for own ideas and opinions to the 427 survey participants. After collecting over 100 additional comments, we have assigned the answers and tried to categorize them.using time better

Unsurprisingly, the overall results varied. The time factor was mentioned frequently, as keywords like feeling bored or less scrolling time came across. Interestingly, people believe that finding a partner or being in a relationship can decrease the online time. Other participants brought up the factor that if their friends are spending less time online, this would encourage them to decrease their screen time as well. Friends and society are generally a big influence on the time spend online, as more friends, deeper friendships or the distance to friends were brought up. 

Being more active and using the time for sport was also introduced a couple of times. Finding a hobby and sharing a hobby with friends was declared as a reason, same as setting a goal in sports. Finding interesting new activities had limitations when in comes to the costs of the activities or when starting new activities alone. 

For the technology part, some comments stated out that the use of filters on Social Media should be turned off, or that the algorithm should be changed. Instead of spending more time on social media, perhaps producing better content would be a solution. 

For work related reasons, people believe that support from an employer could help to control the time better. The need for new tasks, more creative tasks or more challenging tasks in work life, that’s what motivates some people to spend less time online. It’s fascinating, when concluding that people want an intellectual challenge and want to learn more with time. 

As a primary research means, researching a new field, not all data can be done correctly. We wanted to start the research and from this point more variations shall occur. It is important to understand the need and the motives among people to spend less time online, it is a good start for Digital-Detoxing and all suppliers. Hereby, we wanted to thank all participants for their time. For any comments, please text us at info (at) digital-detoxing.com. You might have heard some phrases like Smombie, mental health or Nomophia – if you would like to know more about that, please check out our dictionary and if you have any additional words for the list, please message us.

References and more interesting links to the topic:

what motivates people to spend less time online