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Majority of internet users claim to be 'hooked' says Ofcom

by Mark Tyson on 4 August 2016, 12:10

Tags: Ofcom

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There is no denying that internet use has become a more integral part of many people's lives. It spread from desktop and laptop users, to smartphone and tablet users, now many rely on it as a replacement for traditional TV services, gaming, communications and more. With more smart devices on the way, including IoT devices, being connected to the net and spending time checking messages, updates, likes, Tweets and so on doesn't look like it will diminish any time soon. Thus a large number of people "have undertaken a 'digital detox'," claims Ofcom.

The average adult in the UK spends an average of one day per week (25 hours) online. Nearly 60 per cent of users consider themselves to be 'hooked' on the internet, feeling the need to check various things online many times daily. While a connected device can keep you up to date on current affairs, help you with shopping, travel, work, and life inspiration such positives can be cancelled out by growing addiction. Furthermore, those surveyed readily admit that net addiction has caused them to miss out on sleep, neglect housework, miss out on time with friends and family, and also be late for various meetings and appointments.

The headlining claim of the recent Ofcom study is that "Fifteen million UK internet users have undertaken a 'digital detox' in a bid to strike a healthier balance between technology and life beyond the screen". The study involved 2,025 adults and 500 teenagers and it asked about reliance on the internet and its effect on daily life.

A 'digital detox' is defined by Ofcom as seeking a period of time without internet use. In its survey entitled the Communications Market Report 2016, Ofcom found that 15 million people in the UK (34 per cent of internet users) have sought a period of time offline, with one in ten doing so in the last week alone. Looking closer at the figures, a quarter of the detoxers managed a whole day internet free, a fifth of them took a week off and five per cent managed a month-long detox.

Reasons cited for attempting a 'digital detox' were mainly to spend more time doing other things, and or spend more time talking to friends and family. The detox process as a whole was mostly positive with a third feeling more productive, over a quarter enjoying the 'liberation' in general, and exactly a quarter saying they enjoyed life more. Some ill effects reported included feeling FOMO (fear of missing out), feeling lost, and feeling cut off (all in the region of 15 per cent).

Have any HEXUS readers attempted a 'digital detox' recently?

P.S. Don't try it now, we have some great reviews coming up…

HEXUS Forums :: 13 Comments

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Have any HEXUS readers attempted a ‘digital detox’ recently?
I can't say that I have, and I don't see it as being an option that I would be willing to take any time soon either as it seems to be too integral to my life at this point. Am I hooked? Absolutely.

P.S. Don't try it now, we have some great reviews coming up…

In the past if I have lost access to the net (something broken, moving house etc) it really does my head in for a couple days. But then I seem to adjust and tend to cope with it quite well. I get to catch up on other stuff.
I'm set in my ways of doing things for x amount of time per day and if I don't do that then I get anxious for not having done it. This goes on for a couple days before I realise nothing bad's actually going to happen for not using the internet and I'm fine. I guess it's an addiction, but it's not that harmful, I guess.
Just had a couple of holidays, one without any coverage for a week, the other with intermittent. If anything it enhanced the holiday!
I hate being without internet at home but can happily live without it on my phone.

That said, it can be damn handy to have, although some people seem to have their phone grafted to their hand….