Ofcom says Brits are using communications services more than ever before but its young people who are the most tech savvy
On an average day, Brits are spending more time using mobile technology and communications services than sleeping, according to Ofcom, which has also claimed that technology is letting us do more with our working day and helping us to enjoy a more favourable work-life balance.
The communications regulator’s annual Communications Market Report (CMR) found that the average UK adult uses media and communications services for eight hours, 41 minutes but sleep for just eight hours 21 minutes.
Some are even able to squeeze more into the same amount of time by using different devices at the same time, with total use averaging 11 hours. Younger people are especially good at this, squeezing 14 hours of use into just nine hours, eight minutes.
Tech versus sleep
A quarter of adults say all this technology is improving their work-life balance, while almost half say it has made no difference and 16 percent say it has made their life worse. Two thirds of workers perform some work-related activity off the clock, such as checking emails and making calls, however 60 percent say they send personal texts during work hours and 27 percent catch up on sports results.
“We’re now spending more time using media or communications than sleeping,” says Ofcom CEO Ed Richards. “The convenience and simplicity of smartphones and tablets are helping us cram more activities into our daily lives.”
More than two thirds of adults have a smartphone, up from 51 percent in 2013, while the number of households with a tablet has increased from 24 percent to 44 percent during the same period. Laptop ownership is 63 percent, but desktops are less popular, with just a third owning a traditional PC.
Tablets are popular with older users as well as young, but just 14 percent of people aged 65 and over have a smartphone, compared to 88 percent of 16-24 year olds. Indeed the report found that a ‘Millennium Generation’ of 14 and 15 year olds are the most tech savvy group in the UK, with confidence in technology peaking in the mid-teens before decreasing gradually until the late 50s and rapidly from 60 and beyond.
Ofcom says that six year olds have the same technological knowledge as 45 year olds and that 12-15 year olds are developing drastically different habits to even 16-24 year olds. Interestingly though, the ownership of physical media such as CDs, DVDs and books is still popular, although this is chiefly among older generations, with younger people preferring to stream video and music.
“Our research shows that a ‘millennium generation’ is shaping communications habits for the future,” adds Richards. “While children and teenagers are the most digitally-savvy, all age groups are benefitting from new technology.”