Eventbrite survey reveals the majority of Australians aged 14+ are reducing their screen time; while 3 in 4 say online relationships aren’t as meaningful as ones forged in real life

MELBOURNE — AUGUST 1, 2019 — New research commissioned by Eventbrite (NYSE: EB), a global ticketing and event technology platform that powers millions of events, has revealed 1 in 2 (50%) Australians believe they spend too much time in front of screens, with close to 2 in 3 (62%) making efforts to reduce their ‘screen time’ in a bid to connect with others in real life. [1] 

More than 620 Australians aged 14 and over responded to Eventbrite’s Screen Time Survey, which found that screen overuse is on the rise for more than one-third (36%) of Australians, prompting close to half (42%) of those surveyed to consider a ‘digital detox’ – a process by which they ditch their digital devices altogether.

What’s more, nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents agree that online relationships aren’t as meaningful as ones forged in real life. It’s a sentiment that’s giving rise to a new trend in ‘friends-periences’: events like Friendship Speed Dating, Board Games For Seniors and Man With A Pram meet-ups for new dads, all designed to help people forge lasting friendships offline. 

The organisers of Friendship Speed Dating, Sally Tabart and Savannah Anand-Sobti of Ladies of Leisure, say they created the event as a way for their community to connect in real life.

“We had a lot of conversations between ourselves and with others about how difficult it can be to make friends as an adult and wanted to give people the opportunity to meet like-minded people,” Tabart said. 

“Our attendees come for all sorts of different reasons – they might be new in town, feel disconnected from older friendships or just looking to try something different. What makes these workshops so successful is that everyone comes with an open mind, willing to share something and make themselves a little bit vulnerable. 

“Online networks have been an amazing tool for connection, but we know now that it can sometimes leave us feeling empty. People are craving that solid, tangible feeling you get from being in the same room with others and being real about who you are. That’s where the magic happens!”

Dr Carrie Hayward, Clinical Psychologist and Director of Madam Heap, the school of mindful living, said that real-life experiences and activities designed to foster human connections offer an accessible antidote to screen dependence. 

“The more time we spend on screens, the less engaged we are in real-life experiences and social interactions that are imperative for psychological health. Many of us are at risk of unhealthy obsessive behaviour, compulsively checking our phone to seek that short dopamine reward, which prevents us from experiencing the fullness of our moments. This is having significant consequences for our mental health,” Dr Hayward said.

“Self-imposed clear boundaries are essential to creating flexibility with our device use. This involves making time for offline experiences that bring us joy, or identifying clear times of day where we commit to not having our devices present. In addition, when we start to notice the screen consume us, we should get into the habit of asking ourselves, ‘Where is the most valuable place for my attention to be right now?’”

Other findings from the Eventbrite Screen Time survey include:

  • Women (64%) are more likely than men (59%) to make efforts to reduce their screen time; while people who are married (66%) are more inclined to skip the screens than their single counterparts (57%). 
  • Close to two-thirds (64%) of respondents living in NSW or VIC believe their screen time is too high; while 64% of Queenslanders and 65% of West Australians have made efforts to reduce their screen time.
  • Over half (52%) of those who have made efforts to reduce their screen time still believe they currently spend too much time on screens.
  • More than one-third (36%) of respondents say their screen time has increased in the past year.

Josh McNicol, Acting General Manager, Eventbrite Asia Pacific, said the survey results highlight the importance of balancing online and offline experiences.

“As humans, we innately value experiences that foster connection with others. From experiencing your favourite artist live in concert to feeling the spark on a speed date – there’s simply no substitute for the physiological and psychological benefits of connecting with other people in real life through events and live experiences,” McNicol said. 

“While technology plays an important role in empowering and enabling us, we shouldn’t allow it to consume us. The results of this survey demonstrate the importance of bridging the gap between online and offline experiences that help us do more of the things we love.” 

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About Eventbrite

Eventbrite is a global ticketing and event technology platform that provides creators of all shapes and sizes with tools and resources to seamlessly plan, promote, and produce live experiences around the world. Eventbrite’s powerful platform, which can be accessed online or via mobile apps, scales from basic registration and ticketing to a fully featured event management platform. Customers in the Australian market include The Corner Hotel, Pinot Palooza, The University of New South Wales, and The Noosa Food and Wine Festival. Eventbrite was founded by Julia Hartz, Kevin Hartz, and Renaud Visage and launched operations in 2006. The company has more than 1,000 employees in 14 offices around the world. Learn more at www.eventbrite.com.au.

[1]  Roy Morgan Research, January 2019. Attitudes Towards Screen Time Questionnaire (n=629 respondents living in Australia, aged 14-54; survey conducted online from January 16 – 27, 2019).