UK has among the highest internet use in the EU
The Office for National Statistics has released its annual Internet Users in the UK 2019 report which reveals that virtually all adults aged 16 to 44 years (99%) were recent internet users in 2019, and 95% of all adults aged 16 to 74; the third highest in the EU.
The report shows that the UK is 10% above the EU average of internet users of 85%. Only Denmark and Luxembourg had higher proportions, at 98% and 97% respectively.
The statistics also reveals that the number of adults having never used the internet is decreasing, from 8.4% in 2018 to 7.5% in 2019.
The data comes as a concern to leading addiction treatment firm UKAT who reveal that 1 in 3 of all patients have been treated for internet based addictions and that, “those always on and never off could develop dependency”.
They say that social media, online shopping, gaming, gambling or pornography addictions are revealed in over a third of some 200 patients they treat per month, even when the patient hasn’t been primarily admitted for these addiction types.
Eytan Alexander, CEO and recovering addict himself believes that a world in which people live their lives continuously online and not in real time are risking their mental health;
“Internet use is as normal as breathing for almost all adults in the UK. But the addictive nature of it is a relatively new yet very real and concerning phenomenon.
“The internet has created a world in which we can socialise, source information, create, game, shop, and never switch off. Most adults have healthy relationships with the internet, but some people are over-using and living online rather than in real time which can ultimately lead to dependency.
“Unfortunately with internet addiction, we fear the worst is yet to come, especially for our younger and future generations.”
The report also shows that regionally, in 2019, London and the South East were tied for having the highest proportion of recent internet users (93%). Northern Ireland had the largest regional increase in recent internet users since 2011, but still has the lowest proportion of users overall when compared with other regions at just 87%. In both Scotland and Wales, 90% of adults were recent internet users.
For the first time ever, leading addiction treatment firm UKAT has launched an Internet Addiction Questionnaire, where users can answer 8 anonymous questions in order to ascertain their potential level of addiction to the internet.
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