NEWS4 August 2016

15m UK internet users seeking digital detox

Media Mobile News Technology Trends UK

UK — UK internet users are ditching their screens in a bid to find a healthier balance between technology and ‘life beyond the screen', according to new Ofcom research. 

Device lock crop

The Communications Market Report 2016 found that one in three ( 34%) adult internet users – which is equal to 15m people in the UK – has ‘sought a period of time offline'. One in ten ( 11%) said they had done so in the last week alone. 

Of those who have taken a digital detox, 25% spent up to a day without the internet, 20% up to a week, and 5% were internet-free for up to a month. Reasons for the break were cited as: spending more time doing other things ( 44%) and spending more time talking to friends and family ( 38%).

In contrast to this, Ofcom’s report showed that faster internet access is more widely available than ever before: by the end of last year, 9.2m fixed broadband connections were superfast (an increase from 7.1m in 2014 ), while 4G accounted for almost half of all mobile subscriptions ( 46%, or 39.5m connections). 

This has led to what Ofcom brands ‘connectivity creep', meaning adult users in the UK currently spend an average of one day per week ( 25 hours) online. 42% say they go online or check apps more than 10 times a day, and 11% say they access the internet more than 50 times a day. Over half ( 59%) of internet users consider themselves ‘hooked’ on their connected device, while a third ( 34%) admit to finding it difficult to disconnect. 

“The internet has revolutionised our lives for the better," said Jane Rumble, director of market intelligence at Ofcom. "But our love affair with the web isn’t always plain surfing, and many people admit to feeling hooked.

“So millions of us are taking a fresh look at the role of technology in our lives, and going on a digital detox to get a better tech-life balance.”