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Study: Ditching digital devices for holidays may be a good idea

A student sits on their phone during class. Indiana students will need to put their phones away during class starting in the 2024-25 school year, under a new law that requires districts to ban communication devices from classrooms. (WISH Photo, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Do you need a digital detox this holiday season? A new study reveals some startling statistics about the role smartphones play at family events.

Nearly two-thirds of the 2,000 respondents to this study claim to have their holidays disrupted by technology, meaning at least someone was staring at a screen while they were all together. That’s why about 80 percent of parents say they are willing to go on a digital detox over the holidays.

The survey was done by OnePoll and Groupon and, while you may think teens and young adults are the worst culprits for screen-time, 86 percent of parents surveyed said their kids have told them they’re on the phone too much. The majority of parents claimed to have missed out on an activity or bonding experience with their children because they were preoccupied by their phone or another device.

Indy Moms Blog’s Kimberly Riley said it’s important to set healthy boundaries for the whole family with digital devices long before the holidays and communicate clearly about expectations at family events.

“We’re so used to just our brains getting information and being constantly entertained by what’s going on. Are we going to miss out on something on Facebook? No, you’re going to miss out on your kids,” Riley said.

Riley says it is not out-of-the-question to ask family members on Christmas day to ditch the devices all together. You can even collect them at the start of a meal or event.

And if your first thought is “What about pictures?”

Riley suggests turning your phone to airplane mode. That way you can still use it as a camera, but won’t have access to email, texting, and social media.