Brits Take A 'Digital Detox' As Six In Ten Are Addicted To Smartphones - Dispatch Weekly

August 4, 2016 - Reading time: 3 minutes

Research from the regulator Ofcom has found that Brits are taking a “digital detox” with 34 per cent of internet users taking a period away from going online.

According to the report, over a quarter of adults (27 per cent) and almost half of teens (47 per cent) own a smartphone, using them everywhere including the dining table, bedroom and bathroom.

59 per cent have a smartphone and users make more calls and texts than other mobile users (81 per cent of smartphone users make calls every day compared with 53 per cent of ‘regular’ users).

37 per cent of adults and 60 per cent of teens admitted they were “highly addicted.”

Apps And Games

Teenage smartphone owners are more likely to have paid for an app download (38 per cent), including 22 per cent of music apps.

In contrast, adults are more likely to download games (15 per cent) and music (8 per cent) as well as maps/ navigation.

Digital Changes Across 10 years

Looking back to a decade ago, comparing the years 2000 and 2011, the communications market has changed massively. The study found that homes are much more connected to the Internet now (25 per cent in 2000, 76 per cent in 2011).

Nine out of ten people also own a mobile phone (36 per cent in 2000, to 91 per cent in 2011), with one in seven households being mobile-only.

The majority of homes have adopted multi-channel TVs have also increased in popularity (36 per cent to 81 per cent).

The amount of voice minutes for mobile phones has also increased by 250 per cent over the last ten years (35 billion to 125 billion per year).

Texts have increased from 2000 per cent (7 billion to a massive 129 billion per year).


However, despite the massive advances of communication, some adults have noticed that the over-reliance on digital devices has had a negative effect on their real time social life.

Four in ten felt that a friend or relative regularly ignored them by being distracted by their smartphone.

One in ten access the Internet more than 50 times daily, with a typical adult spending 25 hours online per week.

12 per cent bumped into people on the street using their smartphones.

The Rise of Digital

Although some depend on digital detoxes to get away from the Internet, the digital trend will continue to rise.

Social media usage was up as nearly six in ten mobile phone internet users visit social networking sites on their mobile.

Advertising is paying attention in our changing behaviours as twenty six per cent of advertising is spent on the Internet, ahead of TV.

Internet advertising grew massively from 16 per cent in 2010 to over £4 billion. Meanwhile, mobile advertising increased by 12 per cent in 2010 to reach £83 million.

Despite taking a short break from Internet and smartphone usage, there are strong indicators showing digital is here to stay.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.