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CCleaner reveals the UK’s dirty digital habits — and why we’re avoiding a mood-boosting Spring clean


Survey paints a picture of a nation drowning in digital clutter and reveals the cost to our mental wellbeing


London, 13th April, 2022: CCleaner, a global leader in system optimization software, has surveyed 2,000 people to investigate digital hoarding habits. The survey found that the UK is a nation deep in digital clutter with the majority of Britons taking no action to address this, despite experts saying spring cleaning your technology is good for a person’s mental wellbeing.

in response to our survey, people told us they most struggle with: 

  • Overflowing inboxes, with the average number of unread emails being on average 1,143 (1,309 for women, 976 for men). 
  • Stagnant social media accounts, with 70% of social media users admitting they have never reviewed their friends or followers, or have done this only once every few years.
  • Ignored updates, as nearly a quarter of respondents (22.75%) admitted to not installing recommended app updates in the last 3 months, or never at all. 
  • 61% of men admitting they have never reviewed their social media channels to check for old content they might be embarrassed by, compared to 46% of women.

Experts acknowledge that digital clutter can negatively impact mental health. The NHS defines hoarding as ‘where someone acquires an excessive number of items and stores them in a chaotic manner, usually resulting in unmanageable amounts of clutter’1. The charity Mind more specifically recognises digital hoarding as a mental health issue, defining it as ‘when you make and keep a large number of digital files’ and states that ‘Deleting files can cause you the same distress that other people who hoard might feel around physical objects. And you may want to keep these files for similar reasons.’2

Jo Cooke, Director of Hoarding Disorders UK and author of Understanding Hoardingcommented, “Many of the feelings expressed in this research demonstrate some core traits of hoarding behaviour. Hoarding is not just physical, it can also be digital. We save things electronically ‘just in case’. We become anxious at the thought of deleting apps, photos, bookmarks, desktop icons, because they represent our to-do lists, our want lists, our projects, dreams, aspirations and must do’s. We hoard information digitally in the same way we hoard items physically, and it is so easy to buy more ‘storage’ but it’s important to dedicate just as much time managing our digital clutter in the same way as our physical clutter.”

The connection between digital hoarding and people’s mental health and wellbeing was underlined in CCleaner’s research. When respondents who digitally decluttered were asked to describe their feelings after doing so, 59% of them reported feeling positive, describing themselves as feeling 'productive', 'accomplished', 'refreshed', 'happy', 'calm' or 'relieved'. 30% didn’t feel any particular way and 11% were worried that during the clean up they might have accidentally deleted something important, showing there can be stress around the cleanup itself.

When asked why digital decluttering was avoided, participants admitted ‘I know I need to but I keep putting it off’ (25%), ‘It didn’t even cross my mind’ (23%), and ‘There never feels like a good time’ (13%). Of those who did digitally declutter, when asked to choose all reasons why, having to deal with underperforming devices was the main trigger, with 80% stating that poor device performance, storage or security was the prompt to clean up. 36% of people stated stress and / or anxiety was, or additionally was, a driver to do so.

David Peterson, General Manager at CCleaner, comments, “Between our devices, social media and storage services, we have more access to digital storage than ever - and at a lower price point - but it’s important to set time aside to have a good clear-out, in the same way we do in the physical world. Dealing with overflowing digital junk and underperforming devices is stressful. Given how much of an impact the past few years has had on our collective mental health, decluttering our digital lives is just another element of looking after our mental wellbeing.” 

This spring, CCleaner is on a mission to support people’s mental health and wellbeing by making it quick, easy and safe to declutter their digital lives. CCleaner is asking their community to take part in their digital hoarding quiz and is sharing tips and tricks for a clutter-free digital life.

– END –

Sources:

1 www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/hoarding-disorder

www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/hoarding/about-hoarding

About CCleaner

CCleaner was founded in 2004 and is a leading provider of device optimization software. Its portfolio of software tools that optimize computing performance, improves security and extends the useful life of hardware. A CCleaner product is installed more than 23 million times a month.

For more information, please visit: www.ccleaner.com

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Source: Piriform Software Ltd