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Millions of people in Britain are embarking on a 'digital detox', according to Ofcom, which found that a large portion of the population unhappy with the amount of time they spend online.

The 'always on' state of mind has left 59% of the 2,500 surveyed by the communications regulator describing themselves as 'hooked' to their devices. And a third said they find it difficult to disconnect.

Half said they often spent more time online than they had planned to, or even realised.

As a result, a third (34%) of respondents said they had taken up to a month-long break away from digital devices, like smartphones and laptops, and the internet as a result.

On average, adults spend more than an entire day (25 hours) online, and 42% said they go online or check their phone at least 10 times a day. Ofcom said one in 10 went online more than 50 times every day.

The research showed that this internet overload is having a very clear impact on our lives. A quarter of the 500 teenagers surveyed said they had been late for school after being distracted by the internet and apps, with one in six saying they ignored homework.

Ofcom's study revealed that it's not just teenagers' education that is suffering. Social relationships are also being effected by the internet overload. A significant 42% of adults said they had regularly experienced a friend or relative ignoring them or not paying attention to a conversation because they were focused on their mobile device.

Andrew Przybylski, an experimental psychologist at the Oxford Internet Institute, said: "Three in four say it brings us in closer touch, but nearly one in two think technology can get in the way."

Stressing that Ofcom's research was not a study of internet addiction, he explained: "That is not a recognised psychiatric disorder. This is more about everyday frustrations, not something as serious a problem as gambling or alcohol use."

Switching off

With adults accepting that their over reliance on the internet is having a negative impact on their personal lives, 34% said they had taken time away from both their devices and the web.

A quarter of those took between half a day and a full day away from the internet. A further 20% took a detox for a week, with a handful lasting as long as an entire month.

Timing a digital detox with a holiday appears to be a popular choice with those looking to reduce their time online. Ofcom said 16% of travellers now actively choose a destination with no internet access and 9% look for somewhere without even mobile signal.

The findings also suggest that a digital detox does have a very real impact on your life, and a positive one this time. Nearly half of those taking time away from the internet said they spent more time on other (offline) hobbies, and 38% spent more time interacting with family and friends. A third said they felt more productive following their digital detox, and a 25% even saying they enjoyed life more.