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Brief Published: 28 Mar 2018

British Adults Over-Reliant on Screens

One in four British adults spend more than 10 hours a day in front of a screen

Brits are over-reliant on screens and it's affecting their relationships and concentration levels, according to new research from University College London and Encore Tickets. Key highlights include:

  • Losing Touch with the World: According to the survey of 2,000 British adults, one in four spend more than 10 hours a day in front of a screen – including phones, tablets, TVs and work computers – while one in 20 spend six hours per day just looking at their smartphones. This means that some people spend most of their waking lives removed from the physical world, stuck in their digital bubbles.
  • In a Relationship with a Phone: More than a third of those surveyed said they couldn't live without screens. "This supports the idea that people develop attachments towards devices such as their phone, which can be damaging," said Kiki Leutner, who conducted the study. "Research has found that people can experience distress on separation with their phone – much like the attachments we develop with other humans."
  • Unfocused Multitasking: Second-screening – the use of a second screen while watching TV – is becoming a common behaviour, with 185.8 million US adults practising it (eMarketer, 2018). But the research suggests that using more than one screen at a time is affecting our concentration. "By using multiple devices we may like to think we are multitasking, but actually, we could be concentrating less," Leutner said.

For more on how digital devices affect our health, see Nurturing Mental Health.