The average person in the UK spends more than a day a week online, according to “A decade of digital dependency”,
a new report released by Ofcom, the communications regulator in the UK.

According to the report, people in the UK spend on average online  24 hours a week, twice as long as 10 years ago, with one in five of all adults spending as much as 40 hours a week.

This is the result of the rise in use by those aged 16 to 24, who average 34.3 hours a week on the internet. For the first time, women are spending more time online than men. They spend half an hour a week longer online than men of the same age.

Ofcom associates the surge in time online to the rise of smartphones, now used by 78 percent of the population compared with just 17 percent in 2008, when the first iPhone was launched.

Fifteen percent said smartphones made them feel they were always at work, 54 percent admitted they interrupted face-to-face conversations with friends and family and 43 percent admitted spending too much time online.

More than a third felt stressed and “cut off” without their phone and 29 percent “lost without it”  and one in 10 said taking a break from their phone was “liberating” or made them more productive.

 

Reactions to be unable to connect to the Internet

(graphics: ofcom.org.uk)

Almost half of adults said they would miss it more than TV (28 percent) and a desktop or laptop computer (10 percent), the opposite of ten years ago, when 52 percent said the TV was more important than the mobile phone (13 percent). Among 16 to 24-year-olds, 72 percent now say the smartphone is the device they would miss most.