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How We Spent 2020 – A Year Lived Online

Written by on June 13, 2021

UK adults spent more time online on desktop, smartphones or tablets in 2020 than comparable European countries according to Ofcom’s annual study into the nation’s online habits. Ofcom’s Online Nation 2021 delivers a snapshot of an unprecedented year, when communication, entertainment, culture, retail, work and education moved more online. And, your favourite Harrogate Station was part of it.

Right now, we broadcast exclusively online – to find out how to tune in HERE. In the interim, our governing body OFCOM have announced that the nation wide roll out of SSDAB has reached Harrogate; something that has been on the cards for around four years. You can read about what we have found out about that HERE.

According to Ofcom’s report, UK adults spent more than 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.

Brits also spent nearly £2.45bn on, and in, mobile apps across last year, with Tinder, Disney+, YouTube and Netflix topping the list.

The report also reveals:

  • The UK’s online shopping bill sored by almost 50% to nearly £113 billion in 2020.
  • Teenagers’ online purchasing power is also growing – they’re now spending more money online than offline (68% vs. 32% in March 2021);
  • TikTok experienced huge growth during the pandemic – from 3 million UK adult visitors in September 2019 to 14 million by March 2021
  • Tinder is the most popular dating app among young adults, while around half (49%) of all UK adults (26 million) visited an adult website or app in 2020;
  • Despite most platforms setting their minimum user age at 13, nearly two-thirds (59%) of UK children use social media by the time they are 11. By age 15, use increases to 95%; and
  • Two-thirds of boys (67%) and three-quarters of girls (77%) aged 7 to 16  said that social media can  cause  them worries about  body image. Which is massively worrying!

Alongside the full report, Ofcom are publishing three third-party reports designed to help them better understand people’s online habits, behaviours and attitudes. For Ofcom’s full report, please click HERE.

These third-party reports are:

  • Automated tools: an assessment of the existing range of automated tools for measuring online experiences.
  • Misinformation: a qualitative exploration
  • Online Misinformation and Media Literacy: a rapid evidence review

As people move to a more online lifestyle – what will it mean for interaction? Will we be faces on screens or transmitted down fibre optic until the station goes under? We are unsure. But, there is hope that we will all meet up and share a pint at a fundraising gig…. fancy putting on on? We are concerned, as a station and as people in society, about the spread of misinformation and the fact that young adults are feeling increasingly shamed by social media.

A higher level of digital literacy and, indeed, the ability to switch off and cut the cord will go a long way. It is easy for me to sit here and preach but I would rather these issues were addressed even if it meant the station went under. The hosts would continue with their work – we just want 13 year olds to be happy. This is HCR’s Dad telling you to “Go outside & play!”


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