In 2014 it's not usual to see a child with a mobile phone or tablet, but it may be time for kids in the UK to go on a digital detox.
A recent study has revealed that children are losing touch with vital life skills due to digital device overuse.
More than half of children aged between two and ten feel more confident using a tablet than learning to swim, telling the time and tying their shoe laces.
According to the new research which surveyed 2,000 UK parents of children aged 2-16 years, the average UK child is more likely to confidently use a mobile phone before being able to read or ride a bike.
In an age where tablets, smartphones and laptops are an integral part of our daily lives and aid our children’s ongoing learning and development, the research reveals that our tech-savvy children are actually growing up lacking key life skills.
With the average child spending almost eight hours a day on technology, our children’s digital diets are further fuelling the debate in the rise of childhood obesity.
Worryingly, the majority of parents identified ‘online gaming’ as the main function of their child’s digital habits with the even more shocking confession that over half of the parents surveyed never actually monitor their child’s online activity.
When comparing children’s digital overuse across regions in the UK, children in London were found to spend on average over 10 hours a day on digital devices - the highest in the country.
During the study, carried out on behalf of optical specialists Lenstore, it was found that one in three children aged two to four own a tablet and spend on average more than five hours using digital devices per day.
Dr Rob Hogan, a registered optometrist and council member of the general optical council (GOC) explains that “at the age of two, although a child’s eyesight is in fact developed enough to use the devices, sessions must be short and supervised to avoid long term damage.”
He also states the importance of “limiting access just before bedtime, as research has found that the ‘blue-ish’ light emitted from these devices may disrupt normal sleep patterns and can be damaging to eyesight, potentially causing vision to deteriorate over time.”
- More children can manoeuvre around a tablet (59%) than swim (53%), tie their shoe laces or tell the time (50%)
- 30% of 2-4 year olds own a tablet
- 66% of parents are concerned about overuse of digital devices
- The majority of parents believed that 11 years old was the most appropriate age for their child to be on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter even though 13 is the official age limit
- The majority of parents believe their children are addicted to digital devices 68% said 1-2 hours is acceptable, however stated that their children spend more time than that on digital devices every day
- The majority of parents said that television programmes were the worst for encouraging their children to overuse digital devices
- Tablets are the most used digital device by children 65% of parents agreed with the statement “digital devices keep my child occupied while I do work/jobs around the house”
- 55% of parents agreed that children using digital devices allows them peace and quiet
The gold standard of detox retreats, Canyon Ranch has become synonymous with relaxation, rejuvenation and total luxury. The all-inclusive health resort and luxury spa caters to the rich and famous, offering the best in healthy cuisine, spa servies, body work, fitness activities, and spirituality and meditation facilites. The resort also offers educational opportunities to help you make a long-lasting commitment to healthy living. One-week all-inclusive stays start at $11,740 per person.
The Digital Detox (whose company motto is "disconnect to reconnect") offers regular tech-free getaways to the peaceful Shambhala Ranch Retreat in the Mendocino hills of Northern California. The restorative trip includes yoga, meditation, hiking, art, and organic cuisine -- no devices allowed. The intimate retreat is open to a maximum of 14 guests, who stay in luxurious private rooms in the large ranch-style lodge. Four-day stays range from $500-950.
The small Caribbean island group of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is encouraging travelers to leave their gadgets at home when they come to enjoy the tropical beauty of the island on their vacation. The islands offer a digital detox vacation package, complete with a tech-free travel guidebook and life coach who will guide you in learning not to let technology control your life.
Experience the beauty of nature and the tranquility of a technology-free existence, try this 12-day African retreat from Jacada Travel. The group trip starts with a safari on the Selous Game Reserve -- one of the largest faunal reserves in the world, and ends with some R&R on the stunning beaches of Mozambique. And of course, enjoy spa treatments and yoga for extra de-stressing. 12-day packages from $12,248 per person.
With luxury yoga retreats in Costa Rica, Sayulita, Mexico, and Todos Santos, Mexico through the year, Via Yoga offers the ultimate wellness retreat and digital detox package. Although you don't have to give up your gadgets, yoga retreat attendees who turn in their iPhones upon arrival receive a 15 percent discount. In addition to beachside yoga, pilates and meditation classes, guests can also enjoy surfing and outdoor activities. Retreat rates start at $2,395 per person.
On the shores of Lake Placid, surrounded by the Adirondack Mountains, the rustic yet luxurious Lake Placid Lodge is the perfect place to escape the distractions of everyday life. With the "Check-In to Check-Out" package, you can check in your devices upon arrival and use the rest of your trip to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery, outdoor activities, and the hotel's many amenities. Private cabins start at $375 per night.
Dublin may be a major metropolitan city, but that doesn't mean you can't do a little unplugging on your next trip to Ireland. The luxurious, five-star Westin Dublin's digital detox package includes breakfast in bed, in-room massage, detox survival kit, and a safe to lock your gadgets away in, so that you can enjoy tranquility and peace in the heart of downtown Dublin. Rates start at $227 per person per night.
Head down to tropical Costa Rica to get away from the business of your everyday life and enjoy a little R&R. The retreat takes travelers through the Cloud Forests and then on to the beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula. All-inclusive 10-day packages from $5,957 per person.
This summer camp for adults promises visitors a chance to get back to childhood -- with campire songs instead of YouTube videos and board games instead of Angry Birds, The Digital Detox's "Camp Grounded" is all about technology-free summer fun. This June, 200 grown-up campers will unplug for four days of outdoor activities and nostalgia in the California redwoods. Four-day stays start at $340 per person.
This luxury Moroccan getaway for women comes with everything you could want in a wellness getaway: Yoga, meditation, spa treatments, organic fine dining, a gorgeous setting and poolside lounging. Harem Escape describes itself as an "oriental paradise where [guests] are encouraged to leave behind the stresses of the world" -- and it's undoubtedly the perfect place for stress relief. The intimate property (it contains just nine rooms) is nestled on 24 acres of desert grounds just outside the vibrant city of Marrakech. All-inclusive prices start at $545 per person per night.
The Farm at San Benito, a Batangas resort, prides itself on offering top-notch holistic healing services in a stunning island setting. It's easy to see why it was rated the "Best Medical Wellness Resort in the World" by SENSES Germany: Luxurious facilities are surrounded by beautiful jungles, gardens and pools. Try the five-day detox cleanse package, a supervised nutritional and therapeutic program, for intensive stress relief and a kick-start to a healthier lifestyle. The four-night, five-day detox cleanse starts at $1,925 per person.
The Island Experience is an unusual health and adventure program where guests can get healthy and relieve stress on the beautiful island oasis of Ilha Grande, off the coast of Brazil. The seven-day program is a combination of adventure spa, yoga retreat and fitness vacation program, designed to "detox your body and de-stress your mind." Contact for pricing information.
Detoxify your mind, body and spirit while surrounded by the natural beauty of the Eastern Townships at Spa Eastman, a Nordic-style luxury spa in the Quebec countryside. Visitors can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of thermotherapy at Eastman-les-bains, as well as traditional spa treatments, gourmet health food, and outdoor activities. Try the Health & Wellness Immersion package -- which includes meetings with a nutritionist and kinesiologist -- for a total detox experience. The seven-night Health & Wellness Immersion package starts at $2,065 per person.
A luxury hotel and spa in the foothills of the Himalayas just might be the perfect place to recharge your health and lower your stress levels. At Ananda In The Himalayas, guests can spend their days practicing yoga and meditation, eating organic health food, and exploring the tranquil forests surrounding restored Viceregal Palace. Try the yogic detox or stress management package for a wellness immersion. The seven-day stress management package starts at $550 per person per night.
Detox and de-stress in "Downton Abbey" style at the luxurious Coworth Park Hotel & Spa, which offers an array of health and wellness services as well as traditional English rituals like afternoon tea and horseback riding. The spa at the five-star luxury hotel was rated the #1 hotel spa in the UK by Conde Nast Traveler. Although the hotel doesn't offer extended detox packages, you can easily create your own wellness getaway with a combination of spa treatments (try the Spring Clean Spa Day Detox), healthy meals and walks in the garden. Double rooms start around $468 per night.
This well-known Byron Bay wellness retreat center, co-owned by Olivia Newton-John, has hosted celebrities like Oprah for detoxing getaways. Guests stay in luxurious bungalows set in the subtropical forests of bungalow bay, while enjoying spa services, yoga and meditation, naturopathy sessions and organic cuisine. Try the five-night refresh package or the seven-night restore package for total pampering. Five-night refresh retreats start at $3,273 per person.