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Are Brits Addicted To Social Media?

Social Media

For the best experience, view this post about British TV on our website. The words in purple and bold have definitions at the bottom of this post.

Last week, I watched the new Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma” and was shocked to realise how addicted we have become to social media. Subconsciously, you know you spend too much time scrolling through social media sites, but you don’t really take notice of how much time this is in total, nor the long-lasting effects. 

The United Kingdom has a population of almost 67 million people, of which there are around 45 million active social media users and the UK is very much mobile-driven. Of these 45 million users, 39 million are on their mobiles. It’s safe to say that social media plays a vital role in everyday life in the UK. By social media, I mean all social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat etc…)

The most popular social media platform in the UK is YouTube, with the highest audience predictably aged between 25 and 34 years old. The second most popular social media platform is Facebook, with around 40 million users. And we’re fairly active users too, liking around 13 posts each month and commenting around 7 times per month. In third place FB Messenger, then Whatsapp. Further down the list is Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Social Media

On average, Brits spend 1 hour 50 minutes per day on social media and have around 7 different social media accounts each. Having said this, when I look at my daily social media time in my phone settings, I find it hard to believe it’s under 2 hours a day spent on social media. Imagine that, an extra 2 hours or more to spare that we usually spend scrolling through social media pages.

So, I think it’s safe to conclude that Brits are indeed addicted to social media. But what effect does this have on British society?

In short, it’s an endless list. From increased suicide rates, viral fake news and growing mental health issues among generation Z to difficulties expressing emotions, decreased social interactions and higher levels of myopia.

But the most worrying effect of social media for me is the impact on politics and democracy. I’m sure you’re well aware of the nation-dividing topic of Brexit in the UK. In 2016, the people of the United Kingdom voted in majority to leave the European Union. It is still a hotly-debated topic discussed in parliament today and it was something people felt so passionate about that it even ripped families apart. Something so close to home, something so political and something so important with a long-lasting impact on the British people.

Social Media

Social media was used during the Brexit campaign like never before in the British political sphere. Campaigners on both sides of the argument were tapping into worries and concerns that British people were voicing on social media. Before launching my company, I wasn’t a heavy user of social media but even I found myself reading the opinions of friends and family, reading articles and polls and being drawn in to group and page recommendations on social media platforms. 

Politicians around the world are now coming to terms with this fact, that an election is no longer won by knocking on people’s doors and talking to them face-to-face, but instead need to reach them on their screens and provide them with the information to sway their opinions.

So, it’s true that we’re a nation addicted to social media and it’s unlikely to change any time soon.

Key Vocabulary

Below are 10 key words taken from this post with definitions. Please be aware that there are sometimes many definitions for one word, it will depend on context. 

Definition: Something that is talked about a lot, but people have very different opinions about this thing

In our blog: It is still a hotly-debated topic discussed in parliament today.

Definition: Synonym for nearsightedness. This means your eyesight is not good and you cannot see long distances very well.

In our blog: From increased suicide rates, viral fake news and growing mental health issues among generation Z to difficulties expressing emotions, decreased social interactions and higher levels of myopia.

Definition: A survey that asks your opinion about something

In our blog: I found myself reading the opinions of friends and family, reading articles and polls.

Definition: To separate immediately and quickly

In our blog: it was something people felt so passionate about that it even ripped families apart.

Definition: To move down a screen using your fingers or thumb to move the content

In our blog: Subconsciously, you know you spend too much time scrolling through social media sites…

Definition: Synonym for surprised

In our blog: I was shocked to realise how addicted we have become to social media.

Definition: To have free time to do something

In our blog: Imagine that, an extra 2 hours or more to spare that we usually spend scrolling through social media pages.

Definition: Industry/area

In our blog: Social media was used during the Brexit campaign like never before in the British political sphere.

Definition: Important

In our blog: With regular concerts and solos, I was lucky enough to sing in beautiful locations.

Definition: To accept

In our blog: Politicians around the world are now coming to terms with this fact…

  1. Battisby, A. (w2019). The Latest UK Social Media Statistics for 2019.Available: https://avocadosocial.com/latest-social-media-statistics-and-demographics-for-the-uk-in-2019/. Last accessed 17th September 2020.
  2. Statista. (2019). UK: active social media users 2020 Published by Joseph Johnson, Mar 3, 2020 The United Kingdom (UK) was home to 45 million active social media users in 2020. That translated to a social media penetra. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/507405/uk-active-social-media-and-mobile-social-media-users/. Last accessed 17th September 2020.

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