Unplugged: 60% of Us Almost Never Are

By Jennifer Sikora on July 25th, 2014

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” – Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Twenty years ago, the term “unplugged” may have been in reference to the popular MTV acoustical show. Today, it is a nearly unheard-of concept for consumers, who are owners and users of a multitude of digital devices we never even imagined in 1994 – let alone in Einstein’s days.

Here are some quick stats on the prevalence of digital device ownership and user behaviors from a few of CivicScience’s syndicated polling questions*:

So with all of this convenient technology surrounding us and strapped to us, are we willing to unplug? Turns out, we’re not. We launched a poll question on July 7, 2014, asking people how often they unplug from such devices, and we collected 8,718 responses as of July 24, 2014.


Turns out that 43% of consumers say they “Never!” unplug and another 17% say they do so only a few times a year. This correlates well with another question of ours that asks people if they are addicted to their digital devices: 67% of those who said yes they are addicted also say they never unplug.

What is surprising is that 20% of respondents say they manage to unplug daily and another 10% do so a few times a week. Who are these unpluggers, and who can’t bear the thought?

We dug in:

So unplugging seems to correlate with happiness levels, exercise, travel, and a good night’s sleep more than it does to demographic attributes of consumers. What is promising is that the under 18 demo group seems to be more willing to unplug with greater frequency – although this could be more related to device ownership and accessibility than personal insight.

I am not sure that technology has exceeded humanity… and neither do others. It has of course brought many benefits. But in the spirit of balance, it may not be a bad thing to leave the device at home for an evening out.


*Weighted for U.S. census representativeness for gender and age, 13 years and older.




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