Ofcom has today published a report presenting a snapshot of an ‘unprecedented year’ for communication, entertainment, culture, retail, work and education in the UK.
The UK regulator’s 2021 Online Nation Report details how UK life has moved online since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the report, in 2020 UK adults spent more time online than their European counterparts. Whether via smartphone, tablet or desktop, the average UK adult spent three-and-a-half hours online each day in 2020 – more than an hour longer than in Germany and France and 30 minutes more than Spain.
The report shows that nearly two thirds (62%) of adults, and 92% of 16- to 24-year-olds, said they played games on an electronic device during Government lockdowns. Over half of all gamers agreed that gaming helped them get through lockdown.
According to Ofcom, three-quarters of UK 5-15-year-olds played games online in 2020. Ofcom reports that creative games such as Roblox and Minecraft are particularly popular with girls, while boys opt for console-based competitive games such as Fortnite and Call of Duty.
By the end of the year, the number of UK homes with internet access had risen to 94% from 89% in 2019. However, while the internet formed a vital lifeline for many across the UK in 2020, over half of children reported a negative experience online.
Ofcom reports that younger children are more likely to say they have been bullied when playing games online than older children who often reported bullying via social media and messaging apps.
The report also found that Seven- to eight-year-olds spent an average of nearly three hours a day online in September 2020 and 15- to 16-year-olds nearly five hours. The majority of this internet use was centred on watching video content and gaming, with social video platforms seeing significant growth.