We’re using the internet twice as much as we did in 2005

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has revealed that Brits are spending twice as much time online as they did a decade ago. But just how many hours and minutes a week do we spend glued to our laptops, smartphones and tablets?


According to Ofcom’s Media Use and Attitudes report, Brits are spending, on average, 20 hours and 30 minutes online every week.

Back in 2005, this figure stood at just 9 hours and 54 minutes – a number many of us Netflix-addicts can stack up in just a weekend. For those in the 16-24 years-old bracket this total almost trebles, with 27 hours and 36 minutes on average spent online a week in 2014.  

The vice of the smart device 

The regulator is attributing our increased online activity to the rise and popularity of smartphones and tablets. From the launch of the iPad five years ago to the new generation of smartwatches, it has become a lot easier and quicker to get online. 

For example, in 2005 just 5% of adults used a tablet, while in 2014 39% said they used one to get online. Smartphones have also seen a remarkable rise, with usage doubling in the last five years from 30% to 66%.

Even outside of work or study it seems we still can’t quite bring ourselves to go offline. Back in 2005, Brits spent a minuscule 30 minutes leisurely surfing the net a week, but 10 years later this figure has increased almost five-fold to 2 hours and 18minutes.

Source: Ofcom

Textual healing

While we’re spending more time clicking and scrolling, what are we actually doing while we’re online?

For mobile users, sending texts has increased by 20% over the last 10 years, as well as playing games – something that Candy Crush fans will be able to identify with. Additionally, using social media has become a popular way to spend time online.

The biggest growth in social media users has been among 35-44 year-olds, with 80% of internet users in this age bracket using Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites. 

Similarly the number of mobile users sending emails regularly has risen to 52%, up from just 5% in 2005. 


Source: Ofcom

Keeping safe 

As the number of devices we’re using, and time spent online, is increasing, many of us still feel concerned about privacy, sharing our personal details online, and the levels of online security.   

Safeguarding your details when you’re online can help prevent potential fraudsters accessing your information and can protect you from scams. Check out our quick and easy checklist of how to stay safe online:

-Change your password frequently: Choose a password with a combination of capital letters and numbers, as these are deemed ‘strong’. Also, use different passwords across all your accounts. Yes, we know it’s annoying, but it really is one of the best ways to stay safe.

-Update your anti-virus software: Make sure your security software is up-to-date and keep an eye on new releases and versions as they will have security fixes that will make your system more difficult to hack into. 

-Don’t open a dodgy pop-up:  Always be wary of suspicious looking emails, even if they look like they've been sent by friends or contacts, and never enter any passwords on an unfamiliar site after clicking on a link to get there. 

-Look for the padlock icon:  Checking that a website has a padlock icon when you enter the address means that the site is secure. Similarly make sure the site you are using has https at the beginning of the URL.

-Don’t be careless with wireless: Ensure your wireless connection is password-enabled and be cautious when using public wi-fi as hackers can easily access your personal details over shared network connections.  

For more information on how to stay safe when using apps, take a look at our article on app-hacks to avoid.  

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