Less sleep, more online chatting

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iol scitech no 12 smartphone app REUTERS Cellphones hold far more than contact details nowadays. Picture: REUTERS

London - Britons now spend more time using smartphones and tablets, watching television and listening to the radio than they do sleeping, thanks to the availability of broadband in the home and on the move, regulator Ofcom said on Thursday.

Consuming media and communicating takes 11 hours and 7 minutes out of an average Briton's day, a jump of more than two hours since 2010, from 8 hours and 48 minutes, it said.

Smartphones, which are now used by 61 percent of people, and tablet computers were behind the rise, Ofcom said, as they allow people to stay connected while on the move.

New technology was also behind work encroaching more and more into people's personal time, with six in 10 people doing work tasks outside working hours and 10 percent reading and sending work related emails and texts in bed, the survey found.

On the flip side, Britons use email at work for personal reasons and one in five shop online in the office.

Many people made telephone calls and surf the web at the same time as they watch television or listen to the radio, so the total volume of 11 hours 7 minutes is squeezed into 8 hours 41 minutes, or 20 minutes longer than they sleep, Ofcom said.

Watching television remained the most popular individual activity, consuming nearly three hours of the average adult's day, the 2014 Communications Market Report said.

Ofcom's research also showed that the most tech-savvy people are teenagers.

People reach a peak of digital understanding at 14-15 years, while children at age six show the same knowledge of new technology as the average 45-year-old, said Ofcom, which surveyed nearly 2 000 adults and 800 children. - Reuters

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