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We're more connected than ever before

THE number of people with smartphones in Ireland has grown to 1.6 million and around 1.2 million people will have access to a tablet computer by the end of the year, a survey has found.

Around one-third of the population connects to the internet on their phones.

The nationwide, bi-annual Eircom Household Sentiment Survey revealed that the average Irish household has four devices to access the web.

The survey found that both smartphone and tablet ownership has grown dramatically over the last half year.

The number who own smartphones has increased from 39pc to 50pc of people over the age of 16. This equates to 1.6 million smartphone users in Ireland.

Tablet ownership has also doubled in the last six months alone.

The survey also showed a diverse range of uses for smart devices.

Some 63pc of people surveyed admitted to using the internet to diagnose symptoms when ill.

It found that up to one million people check their email first thing in the morning, while 250,000 admitted to checking emails while on holiday.

Meanwhile, the etiquette surrounding the use of smartphones continues to evolve.

The survey found that males and people aged under 35 more readily accepted late evening and weekend texting and emailing.

This has led to a breakdown of traditional boundaries between home and work life.

Connected

In total, 62pc of those in the 25-34 age group believed it is acceptable to text a colleague after work or at the weekend.

Of those surveyed, 71pc said they used their smartphone sitting in their car and 51pc said they used it on public transport.

Also, 33pc admitted to using their smartphone in the bathroom, 78pc in the bedroom and 27pc while on the toilet.

Interestingly, social media fatigue is also on the rise with 28pc of those surveyed claiming they are getting tired of social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

"The rise in ownership and usage of digital devices means our online and offline lives are more entwined than ever, meaning we are almost always connected," psychologist David Coleman said.

"The evolving digital culture is causing a seismic shift in our lives with mixed and interesting results."

Irish Independent