Brits 'more worried about using the internet', favour tighter regulation

Josh Hall's picture

UK internet users are increasingly worried about the digital world, with nearly 80 per cent now concerned about being online.

This is according to new figures from Ofcom, which recorded a marked rise in the number of people with concerns, up from 59 per cent in 2018.

Some 61 per cent of adult respondents said they had had a harmful experience online during the last twelve months.

The figure was even higher for children between 12 and 15 years old, reaching 79 per cent.

Despite this, most adults (59 per cent) said they believe the benefits of going online outweigh the risks.

Brits' attitude towards regulation of the internet also seems to have changed. Some 70 per cent of adults now favour tighter rules for social media, up from 52 per cent last year. The figures are similar for video streaming sites (64 per cent) and instant messaging services (61 per cent).

Elsewhere in its Online Nation report Ofcom found that the amount of time people spend online is growing by around 7 per cent annually, with the average UK adult now spending 3 hours 15 minutes online per day.

Commenting on the report, Ofcom's group director of strategy and research Yih-Choung Teh said:  “As most of us spend more time than ever online, we’re increasingly worried about harmful content – and also more likely to come across it.

“For most people, those risks are still outweighed by the huge benefits of the internet. And while most internet users favour tighter rules in some areas, particularly social media, people also recognise the importance of protecting free speech – which is one of the internet’s great strengths.”

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