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15 million Britons ditch smartphones for digital detox

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Up to 15 million people in the UK have undertaken a digital detox in the past year, in an attempt to arrest the creeping dominance of smartphones and tablets in day to day life.

The Communications Market Report 2016, a major new piece of research for Ofcom, has found that 34% of adult internet users have sought to have a period of time offline in the past year.

Just over one in ten of those surveyed, have done so in the past week.

People putting down their phones said their primary reasons for taking a tech timeout were to spend more time doing other things and talking to friends and family face–to–face.


The research comes at a time when smartphone and mobile technology has become dominant across the UK. Ofcom says there’s been a boom in 4G connections, with 46% of mobile contracts now using the ultra–fast standard, up from 28% in 2014.

97.8% of UK homes have 4G coverage, while fibre optic broadband accounts for 9.2 million home internet connections. That compares with 7.1 million two years ago.

The huge increase in connectivity has seen users become much more aware about how much time they spend online.

49% of those surveyed by Ofcom said they spent longer online than they intended to, with a massive 47% saying they were missing out on sleep because of the time they spent browsing apps, social media and the web.

Despite this, 33% said they found the internet made them more productive, while 25% said that it helped them enjoy life more.

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The continuing boom in phone sales suggests that even though the digital detox is growing, consumers still want to stay connected at all times.

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