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Press Release | 12 Nov 2021

Digital Downtime: Research reveals only one-in-five families have a daily screen-free dinnertime

Vodafone launches ‘Dinnertime’ Alexa Skill to help the nation embrace 30 minutes of daily digital downtime.

  • New Vodafone research reveals only one-in-five families (22%) have daily screen-free dinnertime – away from TVs, phones and other tech devices.
  • Getting children to put away their devices is the biggest cause of tension for 61% of families, with the average household having two disagreements about it each day.
  • Over half of families (55%) have rules on screen time – no devices after a certain time, no phones at the dinner table, no phones taken to school. Yet 62% of parents have been caught out breaking their own rules.
  • Four-fifths would like to have more time away from screens as a family, and 85% say dinnertime is the perfect opportunity to spend quality time together.
  • Research, supported by clinical psychologist Dr Anna Colton, marks the launch of Vodafone Pro Broadband with Alexa Built-in and the exclusive ‘Dinnertime’ Skill. The Skill allows families to activate 30 minutes of WiFi-free digital downtime – using just a voice command.
  • Between 12 – 29 November, every customer who purchases a Pro Broadband package will receive an Alexa-integrated WiFi extender at no extra cost.

New research from Vodafone has revealed that only one-in-five families (22%) are sitting down for dinner together every day, away from TVs, phones and other devices.

The majority of parents (93%) believe that technology is important for a child’s development – with 98% using digital devices to aid their learning. But the study, polling 1,600 parents with at least one child at home, found that trying to negotiate screen-free time is a source of tension. Six-in-ten parents (61%) admitted that getting children to switch off their devices is the biggest cause of disagreement in their household – leading to an average of two disputes a day.

The survey also revealed that it takes 10 minutes for a child to switch off their devices after being asked. As a result, over half (53%) of parents have bribed their child to put their device away, with the most common including ‘you can have a snack’, ‘you can stay up later’ and ‘I’ll pay you’.

Max Taylor, Consumer Director, Vodafone UK, said: “Technology is amazing in so many ways, not least in its ability to connect us to those we love. But it is also important to take time away from our screens and connect with family and friends face-to-face, particularly at mealtimes.

“Vodafone Pro Broadband with Alexa features the exclusive ‘Dinnertime’ Skill which allows you to activate 30 minutes of WiFi-free digital downtime using just a voice command. This means you can easily switch off and enjoy a break from devices every day.”

illustrative photo of Vodafone’s Super WiFi Plus booster with Alexa Built-in
Vodafone’s Super WiFi Plus booster with Alexa Built-in

Dr Anna Colton, clinical child psychologist, commented: “Technology plays a huge part in all of our lives, and facilitates our work, learning and leisure. It also enables us to connect with friends, family, and those we may otherwise be unable to reach. However, it’s important to remember to take daily digital downtime – both for ourselves and for our relationships with loved ones, to nurture relationships.

“Thirty minutes is the optimum amount of time for families to reconnect with one another away from screens because it’s long enough to have meaningful conversations, a meal or play a game but not so long that it feels worrying, forced or stressful.

“Having time without devices is vital for everyone. Relationships need to be built and nurtured and this requires actual, face-to-face time, whether eating a meal together, playing games, reading stories, just chatting. Children learn how to be, behave and relate by watching others and interacting with them.”

Almost all parents (94%) say that having a break from technology is important for family relationships. Four-in-five (83%) would like to have more time away from screens as a family and 86% think dinner time is an important opportunity to spend quality time together.

Over half (55%) of parents say they have imposed rules on screen time, including no devices after a certain time, no phones at the dinner table and not allowing their child to take a mobile phone to school. However, more than six-in-ten of parents (62%) have been caught out for breaking their own rules. Meanwhile, three-quarters (77%) say their children don’t always abide by these rules either.

Vodafone’s Pro Broadband offers customer an unbreakable connection with a 4G broadband back-up, as well as expert support and WiFi in every room (or the customer can leave their contract for free, guaranteed).

Vodafone’s new Super WiFi Plus booster with Alexa Built-in not only provides reliable WiFi in every room. It also allows customers to listen to music, check the news, set reminders, make phone calls, control their smart home and much more – all direct from their voice-enabled Super WiFi Plus booster.

Between 12 – 29 November, every customer who purchases a Pro Broadband package will receive an Alexa-integrated WiFi extender at no extra cost.

From today, Vodafone customers can get full-fibre broadband (over 900Mbps average speeds) for half price at just £30 a month – available in certain locations across the country.

– Ends – 

Notes to editors 

Vodafone has partnered with TV chef Dean Edwards to showcase his family using the ‘Dinnertime’ Alexa skill at home. You can watch the video here.

1Research polling 1,600 UK parents with at least one child, 72Point, October 2021.

Super WiFi Plus: One Super WiFi Plus booster with Alexa Built-in is supplied with router. Two additional standard WiFi Boosters can be provided at no additional cost if you do not receive WiFi signal in each room of your home. Right to leave with no early termination fee if you do not get throughput speeds of at least 10Mbps in each room of your home, after installing all three Boosters and contacting us to try to resolve. To exercise right to leave, you must notify us within 30 days of receipt of your third WiFi Booster. Terms apply.

‘Dinnertime’ Alexa skill: The Alexa Super WiFi Plus Skill is available for Vodafone Pro Broadband with Alexa customers. Simply set up the Super WiFi Plus with Alexa Built-in booster in the Vodafone Home Broadband app and link your Alexa account to enable the skill and Alexa functionality.

Broadband Back-up: Broadband Back-up uses 4G. Speed and coverage may vary due to a number of factors. The 4G Dongle must only be used when your fixed line is down and may not be used for roaming. See Vodafone.co.uk/network for details. 50GB data included, WiFi Xperts may add extra data as needed at no additional cost. Terms apply.

900Mbps average speeds: Majority of Vodafone Gigafast Pro customers receive download speeds of 910Mbps through a wired connection. Average speeds based on sync speed & may vary due to a number of factors.

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About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were also the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. As of June 2021, we have 5G in 364 locations across Europe – 124 in the UK and 240 across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland. Our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 24 UK towns and cities, rising to 34 over the coming months, through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach. By spring 2022, our target is to make full fibre services available to more than eight million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

For more information about Vodafone UK please visit: www.vodafone.co.uk.

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