Week 4’s challenge requested that families refrain from using digital devices for two hours on a week day and two hours on a weekend day.

The results showed that larger families with children which commonly have the most device, reported to see a greater change in the way they spent their time. Families interacted more with each other and communication improved. Households also become more aware of the amount of energy they were using, with many families saying that they aim decrease their use of TV, radio and computers when they are not used. Families realised how dependent they were on their mobile phones and mobile devices to be in touch and ‘feel connected’ to family, friends and the outside world.

Weekdays proved to be more challenging than weekends, as families typically rely on TV for entertainment. On the up side, detoxing proved to positively encourage family bonding, having more personal ‘downtime’ and afforded the time to see to waylaid ‘to-dos’.

Andy Walsall said: “It did show that there had been a reduction in the amount of electricity we used even though it was only a two-hour period. It makes you think about what other things could be turned off that aren’t being used during the day or in the evening. My wife and I are now very much aware of just how much time is spent with the TV or computer on, whether we’re using them or not. It will certainly have an impact on our behavior which will make a noticeable difference to our bills.”

British Gas has recommended five detox distractions, avoiding unnecessary use of electricity-consuming household devices: Chatting with family, Gardening, Playing Games, Going out for a walk, Playing the garden.

Lynne from Manchester commented: “Unfortunately, these days my son and I don’t seem to spend much time with each other as he can usually be found in his ‘games’ room most evenings whilst I am in the sitting room. So it was really good to go out for a while just walking and talking. We even stopped off at our local ‘chippy’ and had fish and chips on a park bench watching the world go by. We chatted to a lot of people out walking their dogs and thoroughly enjoyed the time together. So much so, that we have decided to do something similar every week, in good weather and bad. So this has been a very positive and rewarding experience for us both.”

British Gas Smart Meter Challenge: week three’s focus on home appliances
British Gas Smart Meter Challenge: week two’s results are in
British Gas Smart Meter Challenge: week one in blogs