A fifth of British adults now spend more than 40 hours a week online, according to a new survey – the equivalent of a full-time working week.
The report (carried out by broadcasting regulator Ofcom) found that most people consider themselves to be dependent on their digital devices, checking their smartphones on average every 12 minutes of the waking day.
Most of us spend a full day online per week
Some 19 per cent of adults say they spend more than 40 hours a week online, up from 5 per cent just over 10 years ago.
Overall, though, the majority of people claim to spend an average of 24 hours each week online – double the amount of time spent in 2007.
For the first time, this year’s data suggests that women spend more time online than men.
Dependent on the internet
Most people asked now say they need and expect a constant internet connection wherever they go, with 64 per cent of adults describing it as an essential part of their life.
Half of all UK adults (50 per cent) say their life would be “boring” without the internet, around a third say they feel cut off or lost without it, and 17 per cent find it stressful without a connection.
The first and last thing we do every day
Two in five adults (40 per cent) first look at their phone within five minutes of waking up, rising to 65 per cent of those aged under 35.
At the end of the day, 37 per cent of adults check their phones five minutes before lights out, again rising to 60 per cent of under-35s.
We still have a love-hate relationship with the internet
However, Ofcom found significant numbers of people think being online has negative effects on their lives, with 15 per cent saying it makes them feel they are always at work and 54 per cent admitting that connected devices interrupt face-to-face conversations with friends and family.
And this isn’t the only way in which online technology is perceived as antisocial. Three quarters (76 per cent) of people find it annoying when someone is listening to music, watching videos or playing games loudly on public transport, and 81 per cent object to people using their phone during meal times.
Just over half of adults (53 per cent) say they are usually on their phone while watching television with others, but 62 per cent of over-55s think this is unacceptable.
Phones are officially no longer for phone calls
For the first time, the amount of time spent making phone calls from mobiles has fallen as users increasingly turn to internet-based services such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
Only 75 per cent of smartphone owners consider using a mobile for phone calls to be important, compared with 92 per cent who think using the device for internet browsing is important.