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One in three Brits can't get through a day without the internet

Friday, October 16th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

One in three Brits don’t think they could go 24 hours without going online, new research has found.

According to research carried out as part of a study by Vodafone into Britons’ technology habits, more than a third of the population said they couldn’t manage 24 hours without using any of their connected devices.

People’s excuses for having to stay online included keeping in touch with friends (77%), using the internet for work (49%) and keeping children entertained (23%).

The statistics were revealed by Vodafone UK’s Digital Behaviours Study, which looked at the technology habits of more than 2,100 British residents.

The research, carried out by Vodafone and market research firm Bryter between 26 and 27 September, included an in-depth study of the habits of 12 UK families, as well as a survey of more than 2,100 other Britons on their own technology habits.

Citing data from Ofcom, Vodafone said the percentage of UK adults using smartphones has risen from 39% to 66% in the past three years, with the number of phone users with 4G access growing from 2.7m to 23.6m between January and December 2014.

The operator said its research had shown that respondents in London were the least likely to take on a 24-hour ‘switch-off’ challenge, with 52% up to it, while those in the East of England were the most receptive to dropping their connected devices for a day, with 73% open to other offline forms of entertainment.

Asked why they wouldn’t be able to manage without going online for 24 hours, 87% put it down to it being “the way things are nowadays", while 76% said they needed digital products to manage their home.


69% said they would get bored, 58% said they needed to stay coordinated with their family, and 56% said they needed to go online to arrange events and appointments.

42% said they couldn’t go 24-hours without going online because they need the internet to check public transport timetables, while 18% said they need digital products to motivate them to work out.

Cindy Rose, consumer director at Vodafone, said: “Internet enabled devices bring a range of great tools and services right to your fingertips, and it’s natural that people tend to use them more and more for work and play.

“Despite this, it’s still important for families to be able to balance online and offline from time to time.

“Our aim is to provide our customers with the tools they need to easily manage that balance”

According to Vodafone’s latest research, more than one in 10 parents (15%) admitted they are worried others may judge them for allowing their children so much screen time.

Despite this, more than a third (34%) admitted it is difficult to control the time their children spend with screens, with 60% needing digital products for them to submit their school work.

The company said parents could take control using its new broadband service , which works with a companion app to give users the ability to schedule when wi-fi is available and when it’s not on certain devices.

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