A new report from Ofcom has highlighted the extend of the UK’s internet and smartphone addiction.
Its annual communications market report found that 20% of people spend 40 hours a week online – that’s an average working week for many full-time employees.
The smartphone appears to be the device of choice when racking up those hours surfing the net, with 78% of UK adults now owning one.
Ofcom found that we spend more time online at home than in any other location. This is because on average we spend 69% of our time at home, including 55% of our waking hours. However, it also shows that there has been a significant increase since 2016 in the amount of time spent online in a location other than home or work.
The report found that on average, people check their smartphone once every 12 minutes, and two in five adults look at their phone within five minutes of walking.
With a third admitting to checking their phone just before falling asleep, 78% of smartphone owners said they could not live without the device, and 92% of those surveyed said web browsing was “crucial” when owning a smartphone.
Although the data shows that the main reason people use the internet is for entertainment, Ofcom’s research found that a large proportion of adults see the benefit of the internet in terms of maintaining personal relationships.
74% agreed that ‘being online helps keep me close to/in touch with friends and family’.
“Interestingly, the proportion of internet users who agreed with this statement did not vary by age group, indicating that the internet is now important for people of all ages to keep in touch with loved ones,” said Ofcom.