People Spending Record Amount of Time Online During Coronavirus Lockdown, Report Says

People Spending Record Amount of Time Online During Coronavirus Lockdown, Report Says

Internet users in the UK are spending a record-breaking amount of time online during the lockdown, according to a new Ofcom report.

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in April, Britain's internet users spent an average of four hours and two minutes online each day, 37 minutes more than they did in January.

The report says young adults between 18 and 24 spent the longest time online, averaging five hours and four minutes per day, although the highest percentage increase was among over-54s who were online 24% more than they were in January.

People spent 36% more time on social media during this period, on average an hour and eight minutes a day, and 26% more time on news sites - 15 minutes and 32 seconds a day - as they sought to find out what was happening.

Although more time was being spent online, Ofcom found that very few people who weren't already using the internet started just because they were unable to go outside.

BBC News and Sky News were the most trusted brands online to provide trustworthy information, while social media platforms TikTok, Facebook and YouTube were the least trusted brands.

Ofcom's survey found that misinformation about the origins of the coronavirus was widespread at the beginning of the outbreak, with false claims tying the pandemic to 5G technology surging at the beginning of April, although internet users saw fewer examples as the lockdown continued.

Interest in the topic similarly waned for news websites as audiences became fatigued with the focus on coronavirus, according to Ofcom, which noted Google Searches for the term coronavirus peaked on 16 March.

This was when the prime minister requested that people avoid travel, going into the office and visiting pubs, and was just a week ahead of the lockdown being announced on 23 March, although Google searches for the term continued to drop before reaching a stable level around 10 May.

Three apps in particular took off between January and April, with TikTok increasing its reach among adults from 5.4 million to 12.9 million, Houseparty growing from 175,000 to four million, and Zoom from 659,000 to 13 million adult users

Network traffic surged 20% across the country's broadband networks - a figure which was unaffected by Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and Apple reducing the streaming quality for their videos.

Ofcom's report also confirms that the surge in internet use didn't impact the peak capacity for networks in the evening, but meant the evening surge was beginning during daytime hours.

It also found that people have been making more and longer calls on their mobile phones during the lockdown, with 30% more calls taking place and average call lengths rising from lasting from three to seven minutes.


Source: Sky News