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31% Of Americans Addicted To Internet Thanks To Covid-19: Study

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NortonLifeLock (NLOK), a global player in consumer Cyber Safety, on Tuesday released the findings of a study that showed that 31% of Americans said they had become addicted to being online as a result of the pandemic.

The new global study surveyed more than 8,000 adults aged 18+ across eight countries to examine consumers' at-home online behaviors. The U.S. portion of the research study among 1,003 adults aged 18+ was conducted online by The Harris Poll from May 20 through June 8, 2021.

Many also admitted that they were not taking the steps needed to protect their physical, emotional, and digital well-being.

Over half, i.e. 53% of Americans polled agreed that screen time beyond work and school purposes increased significantly, to about average of 6.3 hours a day and 66% of Americans admitted that they spent way too much time looking at screens.
The average number of devices owned per household increased to 6 as roughly 26% purchased a new device too recently.

The increased screen time threw up mixed reactions, with 43 percent enjoying the connectedness, 38 percent realizing the muted physical activity and 21 percent noting the negative impact on mental health.

Millennials and Gen Z felt the negative impact of increased screen time the most. While 25% of adults aged 18-39 felt lonelier with increased screen time, only 13% of those aged 40 or older conveyed increased loneliness. Around 23% felt the additional screen time hurt self-esteem or caused bad feelings about their body.

90% of Americans did agree that most children were addicted to screens requiring conversations on online safety at a young age itself. 94% said that such conversations were more important than ever before. 84% actually felt the importance of cybersecurity lessons to children. A large portion of those polled i.e 78% however conceded that the conversations with children on the subject were bound to be difficult.

Though 56% of those polled expected a computer will be hacked and 46% feared a mobile phone posed a security risk, 1 in 5 device owners were yet to initiate protective mechanisms for these devices. However, 87% said they would take action if any of the connected devices were to be hacked. 51% preferred changing the security settings or passwords to overcome such situations.

The study also surveyed preferred safety measures by digital users. Only around 35% of those polled denied permissions to apps on devices, 33% changed default passwords on devices, 30% regularly updated device passwords or 29% installed cybersecurity software to their devices.

More than 63% adults admitted to using personal information in their password(s). Only about 39% who owned a Wi-Fi router changed their router password more than once a year, with close to 29% admitting they had never changed the password or were are not sure how often the password was changed.

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