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Embrace a family digital detox with your hot tub

Sharing a tech-free soak in a hot tub to gain greater closeness with family and friends is helping tackle the problem of digital devices eroding face-to-face communication.

People of all ages are now constantly tuned into their mobile devices and hooked up to the latest social media news. There is now a growing trend, though, to find ways of ‘switching off’ from the distraction of technology and hot tubs are providing the perfect ‘digital detox’ strategy.

We are constantly informed that technology developments are supposed to enhance humankind but it has become clear that the digital overload in our constantly ‘switched on’ 21stst century lives is causing concern in the classroom, friction in families, and break ups in relationships; which in turn has resulted in the growth in ‘detox’ strategies to help ease going ‘cold turkey’ from the constant lure of mobile devices.

It has been reported that one in three children are using tablets before they can even talk, and the problem of digital addictions has become so bad that the government is drawing up new strategies to prevent children excessively using social media and viewing adult content by imposing ‘age restrictions’.

After you make a conscious decision to take regular tech-breaks and truly embrace the ownership of your hot tub and the outdoor lifestyle, though, it will produce the additional positive social benefit of being able to share a soak with family and friends.

As the saying goes, it’s ‘good to talk’, and the bonus of reconnecting with loved ones and socialising in soothing warm water is the perfect tonic to untangle from the web of day-to-day technology distractions and mobile gadget lives with never-ending updates from electronic communications.

Hijacked households

Previously, shared mealtimes gave families a perfect time to interact and catch up on the day’s news, but the advanced gadget-rich world that we now live in has resulted in households having dinner tables hijacked by technology to the extent that many of us are captivated by mobile technology that we become oblivious to the lives of those returning home from work, schools and colleges, especially when social media stress prevails.

The fear of missing out or ‘FOMO’ and an anxiety to check their latest social media updates and communications via Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube has increased the use of digital tech to new heights among the younger generation viewing social ‘stories’, trending content and online news.

This year the mainstream media has once again been highlighting that parents have realised the danger of being totally submersed in a digital world and are now heeding the advice from psychiatrists and communication experts who have warned that the influence of technology is becoming a hindrance to interpersonal relationships and spawning a new modern social problem among the young and old alike. Open access to adult content has resulted in the government’s digital minister Margot James announcing that age verification will be introduced from July, after being delayed by over a year, while other strategies have been discussed to limit children’s use of social media.

“The introduction of mandatory age-verification is a world-first and we’ve taken the time to balance privacy concerns with the need to protect children,” said Mrs James; “We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online.”

Enforcing age verification restrictions to prevent children viewing adult content has been welcomed by online safety group Internet Matters; which is also advocating greater communication between parents and their children about online viewing.

“Parents overwhelmingly support age-verification and are confident it will make a difference,” said Carolyn Bunting of Internet Matters.

“We must recognise that digital solutions aren’t the only answer and parents can’t become complacent. There is no substitute for regular and honest conversations with your child about what they’re getting up to online.”

Generational divide

Warnings of a ‘generational divide’ and increased government intervention follow a survey by technology experts in the UK that has revealed almost fifty percent of young adults interviewed admitted tweeting, texting, or sending email from their rooms to members of their families living in the same house; rather than communicating verbally.

Worryingly, the survey also revealed that a large percentage of teenagers in the developed world have virtually cut off their parents from their lives because of their over-reliance on tablets, laptops, smart phones, and other tech devices, which medical experts predict will result in later lives being blighted by both physical and mental illnesses.

Even though Chartered Clinical Psychologist Dr Tanya Byron, who specialises in working with children and adolescents, producing The Byron Review ‘Safer Children in a Digital World’ called for a national strategy for child internet use and safety; there has continued to be an explosion of use of digital tech in the home and schools.

“There is a generational digital divide which means that parents do not necessarily feel equipped to help their children in this space – which can lead to fear and a sense of helplessness,” said Dr Byron.

Mobile distraction

Visit any playground or school at home time and you will generally see parents preoccupied by their mobiles, rather than monitoring the activities of their children, which has resulted in some schools resorting to extreme measures such as making signs declaring ‘greet your child with a smile not a mobile’.

Due to this obvious example of digital distraction by their parents, it is no surprise to learn that more than 90 per cent of British teenagers own a mobile and that during the past few years there has been a significant rise in the number of teenagers being treated for technology addiction by London’s Nightingale Hospital.

A poll by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has also revealed that most of the school leaders surveyed had the belief that the mental health and wellbeing of pupils had suffered over the past year because of social media.

Amazingly, researchers have reported that banning mobiles from schools has the effect of providing pupils with an extra week’s education over an academic year; after market research firm Childwise reported that children aged between five and 16 currently daily spend, on average, six-and-a-half hours glued to digital screens.

Social soak

Despite the alarming studies and experts declaring that the benefits of socialising continue to be lost to almost an entire youth generation due to the dependence on digital technology, communication strategies can quickly be revitalised between family and friends by purchasing a hot tub to gather in and get the conversation flowing.

Multiple generations of one family will rarely share a vision passionately enough to carry on dedicating time to it, but the reality is that every member of the family will enjoy a regular soak in the hot tub. There’s a glorious ‘unplugged’ feel about hot tub ownership that allows you to soak away the daily strains and stresses of modern life that appeals to all ages with the convenience of being at your own home.

A warm and relaxing soak with harmonious hot tub family conversation, and the occasional duck racing contest or ‘spa-rty’ game, can be the perfect recipe for open communication with your loved ones that will allow you to stay ‘in the know’ of their day-to-day lives.

During the year, and especially on cold winter evenings, a hot tub can be a great location to gather with family members and friends for socialising on a regular basis. Obviously, the larger options in your local showrooms would help you to accommodate larger family groups. There is also the additional benefit for hot tub owners of a healthy hydrotherapy massage being the ‘icing on the cake’.

 

Outdoor virtues

Even though the UK’s hot tub market continues to thrive, there is still a long way to go to catch up to hot tub owners in the USA and Canada who have been embracing the shared soak benefits for the past three decades. Similarly, our Southern European and Australian counterparts have embraced the natural virtues of spending quality time outdoors with family and friends to break the cycle of constantly using digital devices.

It incorporates frequent, if not total, alfresco cooking and dining that not only provides healthier meal options but also increases their happiness and longevity. Instead of going to the expense and having the stress and emotional turmoil of emigrating to countries where outdoor lifestyle is part of the culture, why not start the trend in your family, as part of a new chapter in your digital detox life, by purchasing a hot tub.

Once you gain your dream quality hot tub you can incorporate it within a designated space to create an all-year-round outdoor living and socialising area that can help to enhance communication with your loved ones and friends as well as creating the additional benefit of you all gaining improved health and wellness.

To gain the benefit, though, the important rule is ‘regular use’, whether it is for shared soak catch up time or the perfect self-indulgent tonic to unwind on your own before a sound night’s sleep. Trust us, whatever you decide to use your hot tub for, it will make your family much happier and well-connected.