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Ofcom Technology

Britons snared in a web of addiction as internet & smartphone usage skyrockets


By John Glenday, Reporter

August 2, 2018 | 3 min read

Britons are spending more time online than ever before as the average citizen now devoting 24 hours a week to their online self, with women now spending more time than men online for the first time ever, according to a new survey conducted by media regulator Ofcom.


Britons snared in a web of addiction as internet & smartphone usage skyrockets

Amongst the startling conclusions of the Communications Market Report is the fact that people are now compelled to consult their smartphone once every 12 minutes on average despite the time spent making mobile phone calls actually declining – another first.

Instead communication is being increasingly conducted via dedicated services such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

More worryingly, a fifth of respondents reported feeling stressed if they found themselves cut-off from the internet, while the total time spent online has doubled over the past decade alone, with a quarter of those quizzed spending in excess of 40 hours a week in the digital realm, driven by ubiquitous smartphone adoption.

For two fifths of British adults (and 65% of people aged 35 and under) a smartphone is the first object we blearily reach out for upon waking, while at the other end of the day a third of adults confessed to checking their phone right up to the moment of sleep, a figure which again ramps up dramatically (60%) for those younger than 35.

Universal appeal is also beginning to erode long-held social attitudes to public phone usage with the proportion of Britons believing smartphone use at the dinner table to be a social faux pas falling from 83% of those aged 55 and above to almost half among the 18-34 cohort.

Previous reports have catalogued the rise of 'box-set Britain' with people glued to their TV screens whilst not staring at their phones.

Ofcom Technology

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