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Even our love lives suffer as we get caught up in the web

Katie Wright looks at why people are missing out key events due to the internet

Other peoples' smartphones can be irritating in a lot of ways - bleeping and buzzing in the cinema, diverting the attention of our friends, facilitating Facebook bragging - but save a thought for the hapless addicts who've missed out on major events because they were too busy staring at their phone screen.

Like the mum who missed her child's first words. Or the student who failed to turn up to an important exam because he was too engrossed in a mobile game.

These are just two of the examples uncovered in research by, which found that 40% of people have had similar experiences.

The study also found that 34% of respondents would sooner give up alcohol, or junk food, for a month than relinquish their precious mobile.

Meanwhile, a survey by Durex has found that digital devices are having a detrimental impact on our love lives - particularly while abroad.

More than half of couples questioned (52%) said they expect better sex on holiday, but 60% said the reality doesn't meet their expectations because either one or both of them spends too much time on their phone.

"The hotel bedroom, once a place of intimacy, romance and escape, can at times feel more like a frenzied media centre, as the couple rush to upload photos from the day, check in with friends via messenger apps and scroll through newsfeeds to satisfy their longing for their social networks," explains Dr Sharif Mowlabocus from the Centre of Sexual Dissidence at the University of Sussex.

"And the use of a device by one partner encourages device use by the other partner."

Another quarter admit that phone use has led to a mid-holiday row and a number of respondents actually admitted to using their phone during sex. In response to its findings, has launched four new "digital detox" tours in Ecuador, India, Morocco and Thailand, where travellers are forced to give up their devilish devices.

If you've already booked your summer holiday, perhaps a self-imposed mobile moratorium is what you need to encourage more time gazing longingly at your partner, rather than your Twitter feed.

"Try setting a time limit on how long you can use your handsets for, then turn them off, pop them in the room's safe and lock them away," advises Alix Fox, Durex's sex and relationship expert.

"Turn on the out-of-office auto-response on your emails and think of it as a message to you as well as your colleagues and clients: you are not online and the 9-5 can - and should - wait."

Ultimately, ditching your devices will help you savour the time alone, says Fox. "Rather than viewing your holiday as something you have to broadcast to the masses on social media, delight in keeping aspects of it as special secrets just for the two of you to share."

Belfast Telegraph


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