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BizReport : Internet : August 04, 2016

Do you suffer from 'connectivity creep' or 'tech tardiness'?

The Internet and mobile are now integral to everyday life, but more and more people in the UK are taking a step back from technology to re-engage with the real world, according to new research from Ofcom.

by Helen Leggatt

Earlier this year, research from digital marketing agency Greenlight found that 1 in 4 Internet users in the UK planned a step back from their digital devices in a "digital detox". More than half (53%) specifically wanted to cut down on their computer and mobile activity to spend more quality time with family and friends.

Another study, this time among 1,000 people by Stop Procrastinating, an Internet and website blocker, found that 51% would consider such a break. Reasons for doing so included the anxiety felt when they had not checked their social media account or email, that they could not fully enjoy activities without sharing it online and that checking their digital devices was reducing their quality of sleep.

New research, released by the UK's communications industries regulator Ofcom, has found that a third of Brits have taken a step back from their mobile devices and computers in an attempt to reconnect with the 'real world' and wean themselves off online addiction.

Almost three-quarters (71%) of aduts in the UK now own a smartphone, found Ofcom, up from 66% last year, while 86% of adults have home Internet; 75% say the Internet is important to their lives. Around 25 hours is spent online each week by adults in the UK, rising to 29 hours for those aged 16-24.

However, while technology can play a productive and positive role in day to day living - such as keeping in touch, paying bills, shopping and entertainment, there is a danger of addiction as well as what Ofcom refers to as "connectivity creep" and "tech tardiness"

creep .jpg"Connectivity creep" is when people spend longer online than they originally planned, with sleep, socializing and housework being neglected. Around half (49%) of those surveyed said they were guilty of "connectivity creep".

"Tech tardiness", says Ofcom, is when being online results in being late for such things as meetings, work or even school. A quarter of teens admit to their online activity making them late for school.

Almost a fifth of those surveyed by Ofcom said they felt nervous or anxious when offline and three in 10 felt nervous without their mobiles.

Of the 2,025 adults and 500 teenagers surveyed for its annual Communications Market Report, a quarter reported enjoying life more after stepping back from technology and a third said they were more productive.

"The Internet has revolutionized our lives for the better. But our love affair with the web isn't always plain surfing, and many people admit to feeling hooked," said Jane Rumble, Ofcom's director of market intelligence. "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."

Tags: detox, Internet, trends, UK

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