One in ten Britons still NEVER uses the internet but those of us who do spend nearly 23 hours a week surfing websites, new Ofcom study reveals

One in ten Britons still never uses the internet at all, a major Ofcom study published today reveals.

The average Briton spends 22 hours and 45 minutes a week on the internet – and well over half of adults saying the benefits of going online outweigh the risks.

However around 10 percent of people – usually pensioners – do not use the internet at all, claiming they simply do not need it or that they have someone else who goes online for them.

With the surging popularity of social media, a rapid rise in smartphone ownership and the rollout of high-speed internet, nearly 18 of Britons‘ online hours are spent on mobiles.

And the study reveals that while users would like to see web firms like Facebook regulated, they also appear to be wary of red tape going too far.

‘Internet users recognised that websites and social media sites have a careful balance to maintain in terms of supporting free speech, even where some users might find the content offensive,‘ the Ofcom study said.

For the 90 percent of people who go online, apps and websites run by U.S. tech giants are a feature of everyday life.

More than a third of the time that Britons spend on the internet is on sites and apps owned by Facebook and Google.

As well as their main websites, these also include Google‘s YouTube video platform and Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp social media apps.

Nine out of ten web users watch YouTube videos every month, with the average visitor spending nearly half an hour viewing them every day, according to the Online Nation report.

Many adults now spend their commutes online, thanks to eight out of ten owning a smartphone. This is up from just 27 per cent eight years ago, Ofcom‘s research found.

The devices have become so central to modern life that nearly a fifth (17 per cent) of adults and half of British teens now only ever access the internet on their phones. More than half of UK adults consider them to be their most important device for accessing the internet.

The average Briton looks at their phone every 12 minutes, and two out of every five adults checks their mobile within the first five minutes of waking up.

Women spend longer on their phones than men, an average of 33 minutes more every day, the study showed.

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And Britons are willing to spend more money on apps that will help them in the pursuit of love and sex than anything else, Ofcom‘s study suggests.

Two of the top three apps that internet users spent money on were for dating. Tinder topped the list, followed by TV and movie streaming service Netflix. The third was dating app Bumble, which only lets women make the first move.

Smartphones and tablets are also driving heavy web usage among the young. Those aged five to 15 spend more than two hours a day online, according to the Ofcom report – more than they spend watching TV.

A fifth of nine-year-olds and nearly half of ten-year-olds have their own smartphone, rising to 93 per cent of those aged 15, the report found.

They tend to access the web via iPads and other tablets when they are young, but use smartphones from around the age of 12 when most get one of their own.

The study found that children are more worried about being bullied online than any other aspect of using the web. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of those aged 12 to 15 said they had experienced ‘bullying, abusive behaviour or threats‘.

Of those, nearly a third found the experience ‘very annoying, upsetting or frustrating‘, according to the report, which is published jointly by Ofcom and the Information Commissioner‘s Office.

However, only a third of 12 to 15 year olds consider the volume of their internet usage to be a problem.

The amount of time people spend on social media means the activity is now deemed ‘an important pastime in the UK‘, Ofcom said. Seven out of ten adults in the UK have a social media account, and spend an average of 39 minutes a day poring over them, the study found.

Facebook is by far the most popular platform, with 88 per cent of social media users having an account last year and spending an average of 23 minutes a day flicking through it.

However, its popularity has fallen since 2016, when 95 per cent of social media users had an account. Experts claimed it has been blighted by a spate of privacy and content scandals, and the rise of rival services such as Snapchat and Facebook‘s Instagram platform.

According to the research, nearly half of 12-year-olds, a third of 11-year-olds and a fifth of ten-year-olds have accounts on social networks, despite a ban on under-13s.

Although respondents expressed some concerns about online content, in all 59 per cent said the net‘s benefits outweighed its risks. 

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