Saturday 25 March 2017

How gadgets have us goggle-eyed

From the web to phones, half of our waking hours are spent on various media

Josie Clarke in London

PEOPLE are now spending almost half their waking hours watching TV and using their mobiles and other communications gadgets, a study has found.

The research by the British regulator Ofcom -- the first to track exactly how long people spend using various media -- found the average person spends 45pc of their time awake absorbing media or communicating via gadgets.

They are sending four times as many texts a day than in 2004 and spending almost a quarter of their time on the internet on social networking sites.

People are also using several types of media at the same time, with the average person cramming eight hours and 48 minutes of media into just over seven hours during the average day.

Younger people are even more adept at multi-tasking, cramming nearly five hours of media usage into just under two hours a day. The annual Communications Market Report into the UK's TV, radio, telecoms and internet industries found traditional TV and radio is holding its own, with the average person watching TV for three hours and 45 minutes a day and evening programmes in particular retaining their popularity.

Broadband

The popularity of TV has been boosted by the strong growth of digital video recorders -- 37pc of households now own one -- and the introduction of high definition (HD).

Nearly a quarter of respondents (22pc) said they had bought a HD-ready TV set in the last few years, despite the economic downturn.

The divide between younger and older people's use of technology is narrowing, helped by half of over-55s now having broadband at home -- the fastest-growing rate of all the age groups.

The smartphone and the changing way consumers use mobiles is increasing the overall use of communications, often simultaneously, the study found.

The number of people who surf the internet on their mobile is up by half in the past year, from nine million to 13.5 million and the number of smartphone users has more than doubled in the last two years, from 5.5 million to 12.8 million.

Social networking site Facebook is by far the most popular site with mobile internet users, accounting for 45pc of all website use and leaving nearest rival Google at just 8pc.

Irish Independent

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