British adults spend around a quarter of their waking lives online due to the coronavirus lockdown, a study conducted by Ofcom has found.
In the latest Ofcom Nation Online April’s report, the broadcasting regulator noted that adults across the country spend an average of just over four hours a day online.
That figure marked an increase from September last year, when it was reported that adults spent around three and a half hours online per day.
According to the report, the use of platforms such as TikTok and Zoom contributed significantly to the increase in time spent online during the lockdown, which was first established in the UK on March 23.
Ofcom found that from January to April of this year, the number of UK visitors to the TikTok video-sharing app increased from 5.4 million to 12.9 million.
Meanwhile, the number of UK users of the Zoom video conferencing platform increased from 659,000 in January to 13 million in April.
The report also noted that the number of UK adults making video calls doubled during the lockdown, with seven in ten making weekly video calls.
In addition, the number of adults over 65 who make video calls at least once a week rose from 22% in February to 61% in May.
Yih-Choung Teh, director of strategy and research at Ofcom, described the lasting effect the lockdown is likely to have on the way people communicate with each other, as the report indicates.
“Lockdown can leave a lasting digital legacy,” Teh said.
“The coronavirus has radically changed the way we live, work and communicate online, with millions of people using online video services for the first time. “
The Ofcom spokesperson added that it is essential to ensure that internet users are protected as people are spending more time online.
“As the way we communicate evolves and people broaden their horizons online, our role is to ensure that people have a positive experience and that they are safe and protected,” Teh said.
According to the Ofcom study, 87% of adults said they felt concerned about children using video-sharing platforms and other apps.
More than half said they wanted to see more effective regulation on these platforms, down from the 64% who said so in 2019.