Belfast Telegraph

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Third of web addicts log off to improve their tech-life balance, says Ofcom

Published 04/08/2016

Average user in Northern Ireland spends 19 hours a week online
Average user in Northern Ireland spends 19 hours a week online

More than a third of internet users in Northern Ireland have taken a "digital detox" to spend more time with friends and family or pursue other interests, the communications regulator said.

Hooked surfers spent almost 19 hours a week online but two-thirds cut down on use of social media use or browsing the web and half of parents limited their children's time online, according to an Ofcom report.

Six in 10 neglected housework, almost half missed sleep and almost a third admitted skipping spending time with friends and family, the study showed.

Ofcom Northern Ireland director Jonathan Rose said: "In search of a better tech-life balance, many people are choosing to take a bit of breathing space from the web and instead spending more time with friends and family."

More people are online at home or on the move than ever before.

The Ofcom report warned: "Two thirds of people have felt ignored because the person they were with was using a device.

"And there is a risk of collisions too - six in 10 people in Northern Ireland have had someone bump into them because the other person was engrossed in their phone.

"People don't want to put their devices down and some are spending more time online than they planned. When they do it is sleeping and housework that are neglected."

According to Ofcom's Communications Market Report Northern Ireland 2016:

:: Six out of 10 people felt hooked on their connected devices.

:: Almost a fifth felt nervous or anxious when offline and three in 10 felt nervous without their mobiles.

:: Around a third have given themselves a digital detox and a third abstained completely from the internet for some time as they thought they had been using it too much.

:: Eight out of ten said the internet saved time and effort during banking and shopping. The same proportion felt more up-to-date with news and current affairs.

The review added: "Six in 10 internet users in Northern Ireland say they can work more flexibly because of the internet and this is a greater proportion than the UK as a whole.

"However, a fifth feel as though they are always at work as a result of this constant connectivity."

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