A new study by Compare the Market has found that the UK is one of the 10 countries whose inhabitants are the most dependent on the internet, but those who worry that Brits are glued to the web will be relieved to know that a number of nations are even more online-obsessed.
The UK came ninth in the study, but the US not surprisingly topped the list, with more than three quarters (76%) saying they go onto the internet regularly. The social media-crazed nation of Brazil was second, and relatively small areas like Macau, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain all placed higher than the UK too. Perhaps unexpectedly, some of the internet-savviest countries like Singapore, Sweden and Norway did not make the top 15, and Denmark only just made an appearance in 15th.
The study also looked at different demographics within the UK to find out who the most internet-addicted citizens are. It seems that people in Northern Ireland are the ones who find it hardest to turn away from their mobile and computer screens, with 16% saying they are not happy to go more than an hour without accessing the internet. By contrast, only 1% of people surveyed in the East Midlands are hooked to the web to such an extent, while the North West is somewhere between the two with 9%.
Figures also suggest that the internet is causing work life to spill into free time for a number of Brits. Nearly a quarter (23%) say they use the net for work while on trains, buses and other public transport, and 18% even admit to carrying out web-based work while on holiday.
Perhaps most interesting of all is that age seems much less of a factor in heavy internet use than we might expect. There is no obvious correlation between age and using the web for work while on holiday, with those in the 45-54 age group being the most likely to do this (24%), yet the age group of 35-44 just below them doing it the least (13%). When asked whether they would go 24 hours without internet access, half of 18-24 year olds (50%) said no, but this a smaller proportion than of 25-34 year olds (59%) and 35-44 year olds (54%). These figures appear to be another sign of how age is becoming less of a boundary to who uses the internet and when.