According to a recent survey, people are using the internet less than before. It’s the first time a drop in reported internet usage has been recorded for 15 years - but the figures are a little misleading.
The survey, conducted by Forrester Research and reported by The Huffington Post, shows that the average person uses the internet for 19.6 hours every week. This represents a drop from 21.9 hours in 2011. The US-based survey also saw a drop in the number of people with PCs and laptops.
And therein lies the clue to the reason behind these unusual results. The traditional concept of surfing the web on a computer is becoming outdated.
People are now using mobile devices such as the iPhone 5 for casual browsing, often through social networks. Apparently, many of those surveyed believed that activities such as using Facebook didn’t count as using the internet.
"Our analysis revealed that 'being online' is becoming a fluid concept," said Forrester's Gina Sverdlov. “Consumers no longer consider some of the online activities they perform to be activities related to 'using the Internet'."
Indeed, in contrast to the drop in numbers suggested by the survey, Sverdlov claims that “many people are connected and logged on at all times" through mobile phones and tablets.
That more time is actually being spent in online activities is reflected in a reported drop in time spent watching the television.
So, it seems that people just think they’re using the internet less these days. In truth, they’re using it more than ever through their mobile phones and social networks. Sneaky.