Research reveals millennials desperate to digitally disconnect hindered by fear of missing out

Published by  News Archive

On 11th Oct 2019

Millennials desperate to digitally disconnect are being hindered by the fear of missing out (FoMo), social influences and the increasing digitalisation of tourism services, new research reveals.

The study, which was carried out by the University of Greenwich, the University of East Anglia (UEA), and the University of Westminster, looked at millennials’ attitudes to digital detox holidays, and how digital-free travel can result in a better work-life balance.

Participants interviewed for the study, aged 21-35 years old, reported that they were tired of constant connections, recognised the overuse of smartphones in their daily lives and valued digital-free travel as an effective way of achieving improved digital health.

Researchers also found, however, that FoMo, nomophobia – the irrational fear of being without your phone – personal and professional commitments, and unfriendly tourism infrastructure were all obstacles to attaining digital-free travel.

Dr Wenjie Cai, from the University of Greenwich Business School, said: “Switching off digitally and being ‘mentally’ away while on holiday is as important as being physically away. Millennials increasingly want to digital disconnect and view digital detoxes as a way of achieving sustained well-being – ‘psychological sustainability’.

“Regardless of the increasing demands for digital detox holidays, tourism organisations continue to focus on the digitalisation of their services, which makes it challenging for millennials to disconnect. The social expectation that one must be constantly connected also needs to change, and support from various sectors is needed to maximise the benefit of digital-free travel.”

Dr Brad McKenna, from UEA's Norwich Business School, suggests: “Tourism and hospitality providers should notice the growing demands of digital-free travel and cater for this need by diversifying their operations design and planning.”

Dimah Ajeeb, from the School of Architecture + Cities at the University of Westminster, added: "The constant use of technology can have a significant negative impact on the lives of millennials, and a high dependence on smartphones can result in various mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Our research shows that digitally disconnecting while on holiday is key to improving this demographic’s digital health, but support is needed to achieve this.”

Seventeen participants born between 1981 and 2000 who use digital technologies daily were selected to take part in the study.

Imagine being off-the-grid: Millennials’ Perceptions of Digital-Free Travel’ by Christina Floros, Wenjie Cai, Brad McKenna and Dimah Ajeeb is published in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism.

Latest News

  News
Photo of Professor Sue Fairweather-Tait
29 Oct 2020

UEA professor appointed Chair of new health claims committee

A nutrition expert from UEA has been appointed as Chair of Public Health England’s new national committee helping to protect the public from misleading food...

Read more >
  News
Senior hands giving small planet earth model to a child
28 Oct 2020

20 years of pioneering climate research

From adapting to heatwaves, to decarbonisation and coastal sea-level rises, the work of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research assesses and explores...

Read more >
  News
Complex roundabout and road network in the UK
29 Oct 2020

Why people with dementia go missing

People with dementia are more likely to go missing in areas where road networks are dense, complicated and disordered – according to new research from the...

Read more >
Are you searching for something?
  News
The White House in Washington DC
27 Oct 2020

Decision 2020: UEA experts on next week’s US presidential election

UEA experts in American politics, courts, society, history and international relations are providing analysis and context around the approaching US presidential...

Read more >
  News
Person peeling an 'I voted' sticker from a strip with USA flag in the background
23 Oct 2020

Join UEA students & experts as the US election unfolds

Political experts and students from the University of East Anglia (UEA) will join universities from across the world in an online debate of the US presidential...

Read more >
  News
Ziggurats on UEA campus
22 Oct 2020

Force of nature: UEA campus wins Green Flag Award for fourth straight year

In a year when making the most of the great outdoors has been more important than ever, UEA’s campus has won a Green Flag Award for the high quality of its...

Read more >
  News
Aurora logo
21 Oct 2020

Aurora Network turns four and introduces Student Champion Scheme

UEA’s students will get the chance to make their voice heard on a continental stage as a Student Champion, as the Aurora Network celebrates its fourth anniversary.

Read more >
  News
Minoo waterfall in autumn, Minoo Park, Osaka, Japan
21 Oct 2020

Improving access to and awareness of parks are key to a more equitable Japan

Increasing the awareness of and access to green space could create more health equality across socioeconomic groups in Japan, according to new research from the...

Read more >
  News
Diatoms
21 Oct 2020

New project aims to provide genetic insights into key aquatic microbes

Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) are to embark on the largest algal genome sequencing project to date.

Read more >
  News
Image of a student handing over a food package
20 Oct 2020

Volunteering linked to improved life satisfaction, happiness, and quality of life

Research revealing how volunteering can increase wellbeing, and how charities can avoid volunteer burnout as they plan their response to the effects of the...

Read more >