PEOPLE with a serious addiction to technology are to be given the chance to apply for a Castaway-style retreat on a remote Scottish island where they will be banned from communicating with the outside world through technological devices.
Six technology addicts will be selected for the three-day experiment, without any access to smartphones, tablets or any form of wi-fi connection.
With more than 70 per cent of people now owning a smart phone and more than half of British households boasting a tablet such as an iPad, it is rare anyone ever completely switches off, according to figures from professional services firm Deloitte.
The Scottish Youth Hostelling Association (SYHA) has now decided to stage a Tech Time-Out event. It will take place at the Lochranza Youth Hostel on the Isle of Arran in September and aims to force the self-confessed communications devotees into a digital detox by confiscating their tech devices for three days.
The idea came about after SYHA chief executive Keith Legge saw a viral YouTube video called Look Up, mocking people walking around with their eyes glued to their phones.
Recent research from information company Nielsen found UK adults spend more than 41 hours a month on their smartphones alone. “We all need a get away from technology once in a while – we’ve just forgotten how to do that,” said Mr Legge.
“By offering some Tech Time-Out, we think the participants will see the benefits of switching off once in a while and seewhat they’re missing.”
Organisers will offer the participants – who claim to be unable to survive without their smartphones, tablets or computers – the chance to try back-to-basics outdoor activities potentially including hill walking, archery and abseiling.
More than 50 technology addicts in need of a detox have already applied for the event since it was launched on the SYHA’s website earlier this week.
“It is ironic that probably the main way we will get people to know about this is through social media and online, but there you are,” added Mr Legge.
Entrants can detail on the application form what form their technology addiction takes and why. Their answers will then be analysed by experts. Participants will also take part in a survey when they arrive, and when they leave, to monitor their thoughts on being device-less.
Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, said most young people now accepted technology as a way of life. “We are a nation of tech-savvy consumers with an insatiable appetite for apps, media and content; who take for granted the ability to talk to anyone, at anytime and in any way we wish.
“Although the growth of everyday technology should be embraced, don’t let it run your life”.