Mobile Devices Cause Web Use To Double Over A Decade

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Ofcom says more people are accessing the Internet for longer thanks to smartphones and tablets

Wider use of smartphones and tablets has contributed to the average time spent online by an adult doubling over the past decade, with fears about the internet subsiding as more people get online.

According to Ofcom, the average adult spends 20 hours 30 minutes online each week – up from 9 hours 54 minutes in 2005 – with young adults aged between 16 and 24 trebling their average use from 10 hours 24 minutes a week to 27 hours 36 minutes.

Over the past year alone, Internet use alone increased by an average of 3.5 hours a week.

Ofcom Internet use

group on smartphone ©andersr/shutterstock.comThe regulator says much of these increases are due to the popularity of mobile devices. In 2010, the year of the iPad’s launch, just five percent of adults used a tablet to access the web compared to 39 percent in 2014.

The average amount of time spent using the Internet while out of the office or at home has risen from 30 minutes to two and a half hours over the past ten years. Overall, nine out of ten adults use the Internet in some form compared to 60 percent in 2005.

Watching video content is one of the most popular forms of activity, with 27 of users watching TV or films online, as is social media with 72 percent of users having a profile on at least one site. Instant messaging is used by 42 percent of mobile users, presenting a further challenge to mobile operators, and 90 percent of mobile phone users send and receive text messages compared to 70 percent in 2005.

Concern about the Internet among Brits has fallen from 70 percent to 51 percent since 2005 as they become more comfortable, but nearly two thirds now believe they should be protected from inappropriate or offensive content. Security and privacy concerns about mobile apps have increased from 20 percent to 28 percent between 2013 and 2014.

Two thirds are happy to provide personal information in exchange for services but the number of people who say they will never give their card details has jumped from 13 percent to 21 percent over the past year. Similarly, 26 percent say they will never give out their mobile number.

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