NEWS24 June 2020

Internet use at record levels, Ofcom finds

Covid-19 Media News UK

UK – Internet usage has hit record levels in the UK with adults spending up to a quarter of their days online, Ofcom research has found.

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The media regulator’s annual Online Nation report found that the average UK adult spent four hours a day online in April 2020, an increase of half an hour from September 2019.

The results were collected during the UK’s lockdown, which was imposed to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ofcom study found that one in three adults now watch online video more than traditional television, and two in five were also making their own videos.

Twice as many people were using video call platforms during lockdown as were before the restrictions were imposed in March, with seven in 10 doing so weekly during lockdown.

Video social media site TikTok was one of the biggest beneficiaries of lockdown, with the number of users more than doubling from 5.4 million in January 2020 to 12.9 million UK adults in April.

Virtual meeting platform Zoom saw a 2,000% rise in users, going from 659,000 UK adults in January to 13 million in April.

Twitch, a live-streaming platform for video games, rose from 2.3 million UK adults to 4.2 million over the same period, video conferencing site Microsoft Team went up from three million to 6.5 million, and video-call and quiz app Houseparty saw visitors increase from 175,000 to four million.

Nine in ten adults and almost all children aged eight to 15 used video-sharing platforms at least once in the past year.

But 87% of adults and 79% of eight to 15 year olds had concerns about children using video-sharing apps, particularly the risk of bullying, harmful content and receiving private messages from strangers.

Most adults ( 57%) supported greater regulation of video-sharing platforms, but this figure was down from 64% in 2019.

Yih-Choung Teh, director of strategy and research at Ofocm, said: “Lockdown may leave a lasting digital legacy. The coronavirus has radically changed the way we live, work and communicate online, with millions of people using online video services for the first time.

“As the way we communicate evolves and people broaden their online horizons, our role is to help ensure that people have a positive experience, and that they’re safe and protected.”