Happy Birthday ‘Internet’ – New Research Shows UK Usage Continues To Rise

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October isn’t just about pumpkins and squid – it’s also when International Internet Day arrives (29e October), an event that celebrates the very first “Internet transmission” between two computers (L and O) that took place that day in 1969.

And given the global OUTRAGE that followed the outage of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp earlier this month, the internet is definitely something people care about – so maybe it’s time to celebrate its positives this month. year !

Zen internet brought together the latest UK-wide research statistics as well as its own network data, highlighting how much we love the internet and staggering increases in the time we spend streaming, scrolling and watching screens!

Steve Warburton from zen.co.uk says:

“While 2020 saw an unprecedented increase in internet consumption (over 75% among Zen customers), the numbers show that usage continued to increase in 2021. The latest data shows that usage UK internet has grown a further 9% this year, reinforcing the trend that we continue to do more online. Peak usage is now almost 150% more than just two years ago according to our data1. “

Consumers have been reported to have purchased over 21 million new connected devices during the first lockdown2. “And thousands of people continue to work from home,” adds Warburton, “as well as maintain many of the streaming, gaming and video calling habits brought on by blockades, all of which help explain our continued internet addiction. work, socialize and play! “

  • The average time spent online per day per user is estimated to be just over three and a half hours (on smartphones, tablets and computers)3! This is expected to increase further during the winter months, with consumers snuggling into their homes earlier during the pitch black night.
  • In August 2021, Zen Internet recorded its biggest peak of the year, at the start of the English Football League championship where traffic was 11% above average.
  • An average of 1 hour 21 minutes per day is also reported as how much time is spent watching online services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer on TVs3.
  • At the end of 2020, around 94% of UK households had access to the internet, up from around 89% in 2019.3

So, is all this time online good for us? Other statistics from Zen show that over the past 18 months millions of Britons have used the internet to improve their skills!

59% of Britons learned a new skill, and 44% took to the internet to pursue a new hobby4.

The most popular new thing learned over the past 18 months is baking and cooking, with just under a quarter of people taking out their bibs to bake and cook for the first time.

A whopping 15 percent of people started playing, a number similar to those who introduced new talent to the arts and crafts. One in ten people have started to learn a new language.

These numbers show just how beneficial reliable internet access can be – a previous Zen study showing that we actually spent more time with family and friends in internet meetings, compared to the time spent with them face to face before the pandemic.

The Zen team also have these three tips for healthy internet use.

1. Reassess if the content you consume has a positive impact on mental health

It’s important to remember that you are in control with who and what you interact with in the digital world. Get a realistic view of how you use your devices – which apps might not have a healthy impact on your mental health, and what might you remove – even in the short term. Known as “digital pruning,” this is a practice that can be repeated every few months. Organize and shape your social media feed into something you want to see and interact with on a daily basis – after all, you’re in control.

2. Proactively adopt digital activities that improve your life

From health and fitness to meditation, education, online libraries, support groups, games, music instruction videos and much more, today there is an app or platform. form that can support almost all areas of our life. There is so much more to the online world than scrolling through social media – why not think about how you can make the digital space better for your life.

Of course, doing these activities online is never a substitute for real relationships, but it can bridge the gap when you can’t make it to a gym or if your friends live 200 miles away, for example. The key is to choose the activities that will add to your life in a positive way.

3. Set limits

One of the most significant changes recently has been the shift to work from home or hybrid work which, while it has many lifestyle benefits, can also mean that our work and home life has inherently become related.

With laptops and computers constantly at the dining table or on at the home office, not to mention pinging your cell phone, we’ve become “always on”.

Whether it’s getting out of work at 5:30 p.m. everyday or limiting the time you spend on social media or gaming, setting limits and sticking to them is crucial. This could be removing your email notifications on weekends, setting a time when all family members are off their digital devices, or requiring you to undergo digital detox an hour before. bedtime. The key to having a healthy relationship with the online world is not to let it take over your life, so having clear rules and steps in place will help you find that balance.

It’s clear that the pandemic has supercharged our reliance on technology and that has brought its challenges – but there are plenty of positives to that as well. By helping people stay connected, motivated, inspired and informed, the connection we have felt through our devices has been invaluable. However, as the world opens up again, now is the time to assess our relationship with our technology and make sure it remains healthy and happy.


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