Over half of Brits would struggle to get through a day – without internet access

Over half of Brits (54%) believe they would struggle to get through the day – without being able to access the internet, research has found.

Some of the biggest challenges they believe would come from a lack of connectivity include not being able to manage their finances (31%), get online shopping done (34%) – or contact friends or family (34%).

In fact, the typical adult completes 90 tasks each day online – from checking social media nine times a day, to streaming music or videos six times a day. The research, of 2,000 adults, also found that the internet is used up to five times daily for booking appointments.

And half of those polled (49%) claim their stress levels would rise if they couldn't access data connectivity. However, six in ten have experienced this before due to a lack of signal, data, or battery – leaving those affected feeling stressed (41%), isolated (31%), and anxious (29%).

The research was commissioned by Vodafone, as part of its “everyone.connected” campaign, which aims to close the digital divide by donating connectivity, skills, and devices to people and businesses across the UK living in digital exclusion.

To support the campaign, the telecommunications company has teamed up with TV presenter, Emma Willis, to create a new YouTube mini docu-series, “Disconnected”, to show the realities of those who are affected, and raise awareness.

In the first episode, which has launched today, Emma highlights some of the simple daily tasks that are quick to perform when online – but become time-consuming challenges without any connection to the internet, apps, or social media.

Emma said: “We wanted to get under the skin of the issue and better understand, in just a small way, what life is like for those who are digitally excluded.

“What really surprised me is the time it takes to complete basic daily tasks, something many of us take for granted – like booking a doctor’s appointment, or navigating to a destination – because so much is now digital-first.

“We’ve barely scratched the surface of the digital divide in this docu-series, but we’ve seen and heard first-hand from people how important connection is to everyday life, and why it’s imperative to close the gap between those with and without connectivity, skills, or devices.”

The study also found staying connected helps 57% with their financial management, while 54% feel it gives them the ability to successfully complete their daily tasks.

Almost four in ten (39%) use their phone to communicate with friends and family up to three times a day – and 34% cite this as their biggest struggle if they were to find themselves without internet connection.

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It also emerged 38% of those polled, via OnePoll, believe connectivity is more important than exercising (29%) or socialising (29%).

Nicki Lyons, chief corporate affairs and sustainability office at Vodafone UK, said: “We believe everyone should benefit from digital connectivity, and tackling digital exclusion sits at the heart of our business.

“As our docu-series with Emma shows, connectivity is critical to so many parts of our lives – from staying connected to friends and family, to securing new education or job opportunities.

“But digital exclusion is often an invisible issue, which is why we’re raising awareness of the realities of disconnection.

“I’m proud of what our initiative has already achieved, and the continuing work we are doing in this space to ensure no-one gets left behind as society becomes increasingly digital-first.”

In episodes two and three, Emma meets some of those affected by the digital divide, as well as some of the charities working with Vodafone to help improve digital exclusion – including Good Things Foundation, the Trussell Trust, Independent Age, and LandAid.

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