No wifi, no homework: Internet is now ‘more important than food or family’

JUST a generation ago it was largely unheard of but now it has become more important to some people than having a bath, eating or seeing their family, according to a new poll.

The internet has topped a list of modern-day essentials that Britons have said they cannot do without.

A bath or shower and a television came second and third on the list, with other comforts such as having a daily cup of coffee and putting on make-up further down.

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Just under half of the 2,000 people polled (48 per cent) said they felt they could go longer without seeing their family than without being able to use the internet, according to the survey published today.

And one in eight (12 per cent) said they could forgo food for longer than they could go without logging on to social media sites, such as Twitter and 

Katie Lomas, the head of Direct Line Home Insurance, which commissioned the new research, said the findings show the extent to which technology now dominates most people’s essential daily routines.

She said: “What we deem to be essential is an extremely personal choice, and something that varies between individuals.

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“For the average person, technology now dominates their list of essential daily comforts, perhaps because we are so reliant upon these items and enjoy the luxury of being connected.

“Whether it’s a laptop, washing machine or a set of golf clubs, our essentials service allows us to understand and prioritise the items that are fundamental to our customers’ day to day living.”

The new survey was conducted for Direct Line by Opinium Research online.

The poll questioned 2,003 adults across the country between Friday, October 3, and Monday, October 6.

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Direct Line’s study highlights that for many people, the amount of time they could “comfortably” be without technology was very limited.

One in eight of those questioned (13 per cent) said they felt they could not comfortably go more than an hour without having access to their mobile phone and similar numbers said the same about going without access to the internet.

Technology dominated this list with other answers including television, laptops and computers which eight per cent of respondents said they could not do without for more than an hour.

Six per cent of those questioned said they could not do without access to social media and five per cent highlighted their music players among the items they would not want to go without for more than 60 minutes.

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Psychotherapist and writer Christine Webber said: “If we didn’t know already, we certainly know now, from Direct Line’s research, just how vital the internet has become in our day-to-day lives.

“The ability to check facts and find information – as well as be in touch via social media with friends and family wherever they are in the world – has become our number one essential for 21st Century living.

“I am pleased, though, to see that a bath comes second in our list of essential items. There are few situations or worries in life that cannot be improved – at least to some extent – by soaking in a hot and fragrant bathtub.”

People lead stressful lives these days, so to actually identify what their essential comforts are is a useful exercise.

“Having a ‘go to’ activity or object that always delivers good feelings for us, can be a source of great comfort.”

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