Britons spend 22 years of their life online, study finds

This amounts to 128 days a year, or 22 years over an adult lifetime. During a week, seven hours and 55 minutes is spent streaming TV shows and films, three hours and 10 minutes on video calls and four hours and 42 minutes listening to music online. A further four hours and 57 minutes a week are dedicated to social media while one hour and 55 minutes is taken up with online life admin. And an average of four hours and 36 minutes is spent online gaming.

For those whose job involves them being online, the equivalent of 47 days a year are spent using the internet for work purposes.

It also emerged that this reliance on being online means more than three quarters of adults use two or more devices each day to stay connected, including mobile phones (59 percent), tablets (37 percent) and smart TVs (28 percent).

But the huge amount of time they spent online leaves 57 percent of people worry about being ‘at risk’ of online fraud or being hacked.

This may be because 59 percent have accepted cookies on websites, 36 percent use the same password for multiple accounts and 25 percent have saved bank details to a device.

The research was commissioned by NordVPN, a Virtual Private Network service which provides secure online browsing.

Daniel Markuson, digital privacy expert at NordVPN, said:  “The pandemic has changed the way we use the internet, as our lifestyles have been forced to change our online behaviour too.”

“With streaming now more popular than ever and social media having become an inevitable part of our daily lives, internet users look for ways to pass the time at home while sacrificing their mental health, sleep, or healthy screen time.

“Compulsively scrolling through social media for negative news – or doomscrolling, a word named word of the year 2020 by the Oxford English Dictionary – boredom, connection, entertainment, online shopping — these are just a few reasons people got obsessed with the online world during the pandemic.

“Britons are using apps, social networks, and video platforms to fill the gap left after their social lives were taken away, and the internet has become the biggest time-consumer of the day.

“But despite all the great benefits the internet brings, people should remain vigilant against the cyber threats lurking around many of the online procedures.”

The study also found more than half of those polled admitted they couldn’t imagine going a whole day without being online.

And the average time people start browsing the internet each day is 8:52am – and they don’t log off until 21:25pm.

A further 47 percent ‘rely’ on connection a daily basis for the likes of banking (70 percent), shopping (48 percent) and their social life (44 percent).

But Brits are guilty of sharing personal information online, including their date of birth (61 percent), full address (56 percent) and job title (27 percent).

A further 21 percent have posted images of themselves and their family, 61 percent have revealed their full name and 10 percent have even shared their child’s name.

Other ways people have put themselves at risk include not using VPN’s or antivirus software (14 percent), agreeing to all ‘permissions’ (23 percent) and opening links within spam emails (15 percent).

The study, carried out via OnePoll, also found the average adult has 13 online accounts and 22 percent admitted they never update their passwords.

These accounts include Facebook (62 percent), personal emails (78 percent) and online clothing store log ins (40 percent).

Worryingly, almost half of respondents know someone who has been hacked via the internet – 17 percent of which were the victim themselves.

In order for their online presence and information to be deleted permanently 24 percent would give up video gaming, 18 percent would stop drinking alcohol and 12 percent would become celibate.  

Daniel Markuson added: “The pandemic has tremendously accelerated the shift towards a more digital world, and cyber-attacks have increased with it.

“As the remote working culture and online connectivity continue to thrive, Brits must not forget to always hover the mouse over the sender’s email address to verify its authenticity and only open attachments from trusted senders.

“If you have any doubts about a received email, do not hesitate to discuss the case with someone else before responding.

“Cybercriminals see the pandemic as an opportunity to escalate their criminal activities by exploiting the vulnerability of people working from home.

“They are also capitalizing on people’s strong interest in the coronavirus and vaccines-related news”.

Take this quiz and find out how your online habits could be putting you at risk:

Time spent online during the typical week:

Online shopping – 2 hours 4 minutes

Streaming TV shows/films – 7 hours 55 minutes

Social media – 4 hours 57 minutes

Listening to music – 4 hours 42 minutes

Watching videos – 3 hours 36 minutes

Life admin – 1 hour 55 minutes

Researching – 2 hours

Video calls – 3 hours 10 minutes

Gaming – 4 hours 36 minutes

Following classes/tutorials – 2 hours 55 minutes

Looking up recipes – 1 hour 34 minutes

Working – 21 hours 55 minutes

= 58 hours 45 minutes

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