A new study into online web browsing habits has revealed more than 60 per cent of UK adults can be classified as internet addicts, with unemployed women forming the largest group of compulsive online users.
The ‘Compulsive Internet use in Adults’ study was carried out by Professor Nada Kakabadse, an internationally-renowned expert on the perils of techno-addiction, who examined how the internet affects people’s health and work-life balance.
Nada explains: “Our research team reviewed internet use among an equal number of employed and unemployed men and women, the latter group having lost their jobs over the past 12 months.
“We found that unemployed individuals were at a higher risk of developing compulsive internet addiction due to their excessive levels of web use, an issue that appears to be steadily increasing during the economic downturn.”
Key findings of the research included:
> 63 per cent of British adults were classified as compulsive internet users
> Compulsive internet use was higher among unemployed middle-age women
> Excessive sexting (flirting online) is an early warning sign of compulsive internet use in unemployed people
> Excessive email use and blogging indicates developing internet addiction in employed people
> Workaholics are more likely to become compulsive internet users
> Compulsive internet users rely less on face-to-face support from friends
Nada adds: “These findings add weight to a growing body of evidence which shows the UK population is becoming unhealthily addicted to internet use.
“We believe the Health and Safety Executive needs to address these risks as a matter of urgency and should promote healthy internet use to help workaholics and the recently unemployed.
“Businesses also need to better develop cultures which enhance people’s work-life balances, and help manage employees’ use of technology both in and outside of the workplace.”