We’ve never relied more on technology than we do today. While being connected to the world from just the palm of your hand has many benefits, it’s important for us to get away from our phones every now and then, and enjoy the present without interruption from constant notifications.
The great outdoors is one of the last remaining places we can do this, as much of it is still offline. But, as mobile coverage spreads from coast to coast, it won’t be long before every nook of this country is connected – even remote pockets where we’d normally go to escape it all.
So before it’s too late, shouldn’t there be some areas left untouched by technology?
Australian beer brand Great Northern Brewing Co. has launched an initiative to protect remote pockets of the great outdoors from mobile data coverage, so the feel-good benefits of nature can always be experienced at their purest.
Australians are being called on to sign the petition to protect ‘The Zero G Network’ – a selection of tech-free sanctuaries in the great outdoors. These pristine, remote spots are currently out of range and free of emails, notifications and hashtags. The intention is to preserve these tech-free sanctuaries for future generations so that people will always have places to experience the benefits of being outdoors and offline.
And the time to do so is now. 5G is expected to reach 95 per cent of the Australian population by 2025, meaning very soon it will be hard to escape our phones.
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just switching off your mobile, with recent research demonstrating that Australians are addicted to their devices, with 68 per cent of Australians admitting they haven’t left the house without their phone since the start of the pandemic.
On average, Australians spend 5.5 hours a day on their phone. That’s almost 17 years of our lives spent looking at our phones.
Half (49%) of Australians admit they spend too much time on their phone, while half (49%) have tried to limit the amount of time they spend on their mobile phone.
This number is higher again for younger Aussies, with 69 per cent of Gen Z, and nearly three quarters (73%) of Millennials saying they know they spend too much time on their phones.
Great Northern Brewing Co. Ambassador Matt Wright said that while technology is essential in the modern world, we need time away from our phones and devices to reset.
“There are studies that prove being outdoors, and away from technology is good for us, and I see that change happen when people from the city visit us up north and don’t have the connection they are used to. It’s important to switch off and be present. That’s why I find the Top End the most beautiful place in the world,” he said.
“We aren’t always good at doing what’s best for ourselves, and as mobile coverage extends into more remote areas, it won’t be long before every corner of the great outdoors is online, all the time. If we don’t do something about it soon, future generations will never get to experience these areas of Australia as nature intended.”
Great Northern Brewing Co. is asking Aussies to sign a petition for official protection of these pockets of nature, as well as submissions for spots that should be protected under The Zero G Network.
To find out where the Zero G areas are, nominate locations and sign the petition, visit https://greatnorthern.com.au/zerog
Note: The Zero G Network is not intended to limit coverage in any regional or rural towns. All spots will be remote, untouched places in the great outdoors.
P: +61 468 309 452
Note to Editors
About Great Northern’s survey:
The survey was commissioned by Great Northern Brewing Company and undertaken by Lonergan Research in accordance with the ISO 20252 standard to explore people’s smartphone habits and barriers from spending more time in the great outdoors.
In April 2022, Lonergan Research conducted an online quantitative survey, interviewing more than 1,000 Australians aged 18+. The Australian survey is nationally representative.
68% of Australians haven’t left the house without their phones since the start of the pandemic.
● Two thirds (68%) of Australians say since the start of the pandemic they have never left the house without their mobile phone,with more than a quarter (27%) saying it has never left their side, while the furthest two in five (42%) Australians say they’ve been away from their phones is another room in their house.
● Just one in twelve (8%) Australians have been without their mobile phone for most of a day or more since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Half of Australians admit they spend too much time on their phones.
● Half (49%) of Australians say they spend too much time on their phone, while half (49%) have tried to limit the amount of time they spend on their mobile phone.
○ 69% of Gen Z, and nearly three quarters (73%) of Millennials say they spend too much time on their phones (cf. Gen X 47%, Baby Boomers 17%)
● Slightly more than a third (35%) of Australians say their phone prevents them from being present in everyday life.
○ This increases to three in five (61%) amongst Millennials (cf. Gen Z 46%, Gen X 29%, Baby Boomers 9%)
2 out of 3 who attempted to use their phone less succeeded.
● Amongst those who attempted to limit the time they spent on their mobile phone, two thirds (65%) were successfully able to use their mobile phone less.
○ Millennials are the least likely to report success when attempting to use their mobile phones less (58%; cf. Gen Z 66%, Gen X71%, Baby Boomers 73%)
Boredom and needing to stay in contact are the main reasons against limiting phone use.
● Amongst those who attempted to limit the time they spent on their mobile phone, the most common barriers to not being able to limit their mobile phone use are getting bored and restless when not using their phone (61%).
○ Those who couldn’t reduce their phone use when trying were more likely to say they got bored and restless when not using their phone (73%; cf. those who could reduce 55%)
44% of Australians are spending more time on their phone than before the pandemic.
● More than two in five (44%) Australians admit to spending more time on their phone than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic.
○ This increases to three in five (62%) amongst Millennials, and 57 percent of Gen Z (cf. Gen X 41%, Baby Boomers 21%)
● One in four (25%) Australians say concerns about mobile phone reception stop them enjoying the great outdoors more.
○ This increases to more than two in five amongst Gen Z (43%) and Millennials (41%)
Talking with friends and family tops Australians’ phone use.
● The top three things Australians do on their phone are talking to friends and family (50%), browsing the web (47%), and scrolling on social media (41%).
○ Seven in eight (87%) Australians do one of those three activities
● A third of Australians say responding to emails or working (34%) and reading or watching the news (33%) are among their top three phone based activities.
● Short-form entertainment (21%) is more popular than long-form entertainment (16%) amongst Australians top phone uses, however a third (33%) say watching a form of entertainment is one of their top three phone uses.
3 in 5 Australians access emails and Facebook daily from their phones.
● Email (61%) and Facebook (59%) are Australians’ most commonly accessed daily phone apps/platforms.
● Email is the most common app accessed by Gen X (72%) and Baby Boomers (52%), whilst Millennials prefer Facebook (72%) and Gen Z prefer Instagram (66%).
○ Less than half (47%) of Gen Z say they access email apps/platforms daily
● One in six (16%) Australians use TikTok daily.
○ This is strongly driven by Gen Z (41%; cf. Millennials 24%, Gen X 10%, Baby Boomers 2%)
47% of smartphone users don’t feel like they spend enough time in the great outdoors.
● Nearly half (47%) of smartphone users don’t feel like they spend enough time in the great outdoors.
○ Feeling like they don’t spend enough time in the great outdoors is higher amongst the younger generations (Gen Z 53%, Millennials 50%; cf. Gen X 47%, Baby Boomers 42%), and women (51%; cf. men 44%)
Most common barrier stopping smartphone users experiencing the outdoors –not having anyone to go with.
● The most common barrier to spending more time outdoors amongst smartphone users who don’t spend enough time in the great outdoors –not having anyone to go with and not wanting to go alone (42%).
● About a quarter of smartphone users who don’t spend enough time outdoors blame not knowing where to go (27%), a lack of experience (24%), not having the right equipment (24%), and being too far away (23%) from spending more time outdoors.
● One in ten (11%) smartphone users who want to spend more time in the great outdoors say their worries about being disconnected is a barrier for them. This equates to 58,000 Australians.