Nearly 40 per cent of Finns feel that digital services have a negative effect on concentration – Disconnect Day on 1 October invites people to put their devices away


The constant use of digital services is taking a toll on the concentration of nearly 40% of Finns, according to DNA's annual Digital Life survey. In response to this growing concern, DNA is organizing the second annual Disconnect Day on October 1st, 2023, urging people to put away their smart devices and rediscover the joy of uninterrupted moments.

The survey revealed that a significant portion of the population, particularly those under 35, is finding it challenging to detach from their smartphones and other digital devices.

While the benefits of digitalization are undeniable, the downsides are also becoming increasingly apparent.

"In light of the survey data, the trend of restricting smart device use seems to have stabilized. However, many find it difficult to disconnect from devices. Especially people under 35 find it challenging to disconnect from their phones. On the other hand, they also limit the time they spend on the Internet and on their phone more than other age groups. Digitalization has brought a lot of good things with it, but we also want to spark a conversation about the mindful use of our phones and devices. While smart devices are important, it's also a good idea to put them away from time to time. That's why we are encouraging everyone who can to take a Disconnect Day,” says DNA's CEO, Jussi Tolvanen.

The struggle to disconnect is pervasive, affecting people of all ages, with more than half of those aged 16–24 and nearly half of those aged 25–34 finding it difficult to break away from the Internet and their smartphones. The impact of excessive screen time is also a topic of discussion within families, especially for children aged 5 to 16.

According to the DNA School Survey, up to 80% of parents of children between the ages of 5 and 12 limit their child's phone use, and slightly more than half of parents of children aged 13 to 16 do the same. Experts emphasize that it's crucial for children to learn to go without smart devices, as it maximizes their benefits while minimizing the associated risks.

“It's important for children to learn to go without smart devices sometimes. This maximizes their benefits and minimizes the risks. The younger the child, the more important it is to ensure that you engage in activities and spend time together also without digital devices. This can be challenging for parents because they also spend time on devices and can find it equally difficult to disconnect from them,” adds Katariina Leivo, Developmental Psychology Specialist at Protect Children.

While it's possible to set concrete screen time restrictions and social media app usage limits on devices, these features are not widely utilized. Instead, the survey suggests that the most common methods of limiting device usage include keeping one's phone on silent and reducing phone use before bedtime.

However, consciously spending time without smart devices takes practice. One effective method is to participate in a Disconnect Day or allocate shorter periods without devices. Adults setting an example can play a significant role in teaching children how to use digital devices mindfully and take breaks from them. Breaking the habit of automated phone use is a challenge that should be addressed.

“The actions of adults matter more than what they say. It's a good idea to tell the child out loud that disconnecting from a smart device is difficult for adults as well. Being without a phone is a bit like exercise or going outside – we don't always feel like it, even if we understand that it's good for us. It's hard to get started, but you'll feel good afterward,” encourages Leivo.

DNA encourages everyone to disconnect and spend time away from their smart devices by participating in the nationwide Disconnect Day on October 1st, 2023. Following the success of last year's event, Disconnect Day aims to challenge individuals to put their devices away and rediscover the joys of uninterrupted personal moments.