More time spent on electronic gadgets than sleeping, study finds

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

British adults are spending more time using media gadgets than sleeping, a new report says.

The study, by communications regulator Ofcom, also found that 6-year-old Britons have the same understanding as 45-year-olds of using gadgets such as mobile phones and tablets.

Britons are reaching their peak understanding of digital technology at the age of 14 to 15, it says.

The average British adult apparently now spends more time using media or communications (eight hours, 41 minutes a day) than they do sleeping (eight hours, 21 minutes).

Other key findings from Ofcom's annual report includes evidence teens are turning away from phone chat, with just 3 per cent of communications time spent on voice calls.

Most of their communications time (94 per cent) is text-based, such as instant messaging or using social networking sites. In contrast, 20 per cent of adults' communications time is spent making phone calls.

Jane Rumble, head of media research and intelligence at Ofcom, said the data led to questions about "whether the millennium generation is losing its voice" or whether children would make voice calls more as they got older.

The findings also showed an increase in the use of tablet computers over desktops, with more than 44 per cent now owning a tablet, compared to a quarter the previous year.

The rise of tablets is also having an effect on the older generation, with 22 per cent of over 65s now owning one, compared to just 2 per cent two years ago.

While the "millennium generation" of children now aged 14 to 15 show the most understanding of digital technology, this drops gradually until people in their late 50s before falling rapidly from age 60 onwards.

Along with tablets, the number of people using smartphones has increased over the past year, with 61 per cent owning one, compared to 51 per cent a year earlier.

- PA

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