Are we a nation addicted to tech?

It is widely acknowledged that we’re now living in the digital age and the internet has become a necessity in everyday lives. With more people not only choosing to work from home, but also performing daily tasks such as grocery shopping and streaming entertainment. But have we become too reliant on tech?

In a recent survey, we found that more than 1/3 brits eat a meal in front of a screen every day. Though the figures were high across all age brackets, almost half of people aged 55-64 said they eat their meals whilst watching TV or browsing the internet, seven days a week. Almost half of people in social group DE do this daily, in contrast to only 26% of people in group AB.

Regionally, the Scots were the worst culprits, with 48% and Londoners were the lowest, with just over a third admitting to eating in front of a screen daily. However, only 8% of Londoners said they never eat meals in front of a screen - the lowest number across all regions.

These figures may not be surprising when looking at research conducted by Ofcom[1] showing that almost 8 in 10 households now have fixed broadband access at home and 85% of adults have home internet access. As more than half of households own at least one tablet, 65% own smartphones and 66% own laptops, the amount spent online in the home has increased dramatically - including whilst eating.

We also asked people to imagine a situation where they couldn't access their phone - over a third of Brits said would feel similar symptoms to addiction such as not being able to focus. Women appear to be more attached to their phones than men, with 37% of them feeling this way. More than half of people aged 18-24 and 25-34 admitted that they would have similar symptoms to addiction if they didn't have their phones.

So have we become too reliant? Users are spending an average of 58 hours 39 minutes on smartphones and 31 hours 19 minutes on laptops and desktops a month browsing on the web. This may be having an adverse side effect as we found that more than a third of 18-24 year olds are now dreaming about social media!

[1] Ofcom Communication Report, August 2015

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