According to the latest Ofcom report, Britons now spend more than 24 hours each week online and more than half of all internet users say they are addicted to surfing the web. In an attempt to curb this addiction, a third of people claim they have undertaken a “digital detox”.
Interested by these findings, I took to the office floor to find out if my fellow colleagues think that they are addicted to the internet and if they themselves have ever tried a digital detox.
Account executive Sarah Harding explains how the internet has become an integral part of her life. “I remember being in school when we first started using computers and the internet in lessons. It has grown up and evolved with me and has now become an integral part of my work, social and home life.” Has she done a digital detox? Only when forced to on holiday but she’s never voluntarily done one – she thinks that she probably should.
Account director Annabel Parkinson-Lee also admits that using her phone checking Instagram (hey, we’re all guilty of this) is something she does a lot around the house. Even when we’re not drooling over other people’s beautifully filtered food choices from the day, Annabel, like so many other PRs, often finds herself checking news apps throughout the evening until she realises it’s time for bed. Interestingly Ofcom’s report reveals that one in four people spend more time online than they do asleep. Has she done a digital detox – no, but her husband thinks she should and she would like to try it.
Account manager Mary Worrall says she is straight-up addicted to the internet. Although a digital detox sounds idyllic, she believes that switching off from the world sounds a little impractical – but maybe one day she’ll lay her phone down to rest. The Ofcom findings reveal that the average person checks their phone 200 times a day – that’s once every six and a half minutes. Mary – good luck with trying to leave your phone alone!
For me? I have slowly become less reliant on my phone and the internet. It takes a lot of training to constantly not update your social media channels, or check your emails, but by doing so I have found myself getting a better night’s sleep.
Is it surprising that we Brits have become “addicted” to the internet? I don’t think so. In a world where we can do a full day’s work from the palm of our hands on a 5 inch screen, we find our lives consumed by being constantly connected. Even as our refrigerators or central heating becomes smarter due to “connected technology”, I expect the internet to continue to dominate our lives. We’ve just got to remember to look up and head outside once in a while.