TORONTO, Feb. 5, 2013 /CNW/ - While Canadians continue to embrace technology in all its forms, there is a growing concern that the proliferation of digital devices in the average home is having an impact on family togetherness. To counter this, Foresters™, an international life insurance provider committed to family well-being, is launching the Tech Timeout™ challenge, a North American initiative that encourages families to take a daily scheduled break from their electronic devices and reconnect with each other in a more personal way.
"Foresters purpose is to champion family well-being and we do that through quality life insurance, unique member benefits and inspiring community activities," says George Mohacsi, President and CEO, Foresters. "We are always looking for innovative ways to help families spend time together and challenging them to 'disconnect to reconnect' is a simple way to turn our purpose into action."
Families can visit techtimeout.com and take the Tech Timeout pledge to turn off digital devices (including TVs, smartphones, game consoles and computers) for an hour each day for one week. They can use this time to enjoy 'low-tech' activities like reading, board games, volunteering, outdoor play or just talking to each other. During the challenge, participants can visit the Tech Timeout website or Facebook page to share stories about the impact of technology on their lives - good and bad - their success stories and their struggles with unplugging and tips on technology-free activities.
Research suggests that fulfilling the pledge may not be easy for Canadians who spend more time online than users in any other country.¹. In fact, according to a recent report, the average Canadian Internet user spends 45 hours online per month, over six hours more per month than their U.S. counterparts¹ and some feel this may contribute to a sense of social isolation even when you're in the same room as other people.
Mohacsi understands this and maintains Tech Timeout is intended to get families thinking about their reliance on technology, not to eliminate it altogether: "With Tech Timeout, participation is more important than perfection," says Mohacsi. "The intent is to encourage families to think about the ways they spend time together in the home and to start a social conversation about how reliant we have all become on technology and how we might be missing out on other opportunities."
Some parents have already started to express concern about technology's intrusion into their family time. According to the Center for Digital Future, which has been researching this phenomenon for several years, in 2008, 28 percent of people said that being wired has resulted in them spending less time with family members, a significant increase from the 11 percent reported in 2006.²
Foresters has a 138-year history of helping families and currently partners with family and community non-profits and charities including Children's Miracle Network Hospitals®, KaBOOM! and Ronald McDonald House Charities®.
The one-year Tech Timeout campaign launches on February 5, 2013 and pledge forms are available at techtimeout.com.
Foresters™ is a life insurance provider with a difference. The fraternal benefit society, founded in 1874, supports family well-being through quality products, unique member benefits and inspiring community activities. Foresters shares its financial strength with over one million members in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit foresters.com.
Foresters™ is the trade name and a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal benefit society, 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9; its subsidiaries are licensed to use this mark.
¹Canada Digital Future in Focus report, Comscore: http://www.techvibes.com/blog/canadians-lead-world-in-web-usage-we-double-the-global-average-of-time-spent-online-study-2012-04-23
² Centre for Digital Future, USC: Family Time Decreasing with Internet Use
Tech Timeout and the Tech Timeout logo are trademarks of The Independent Order of Foresters
Ronald McDonald House is a registered trademark of McDonald's Corporation or its affiliates and is used with permission