Always-on world making people happier, survey claims

86% have access to web on the go with over two million people using smart phones

Mon, Mar 24, 2014, 17:01

The impact technology continues to have on Irish society has been highlighted in survey which suggests people are increasingly reliant on internet-enabled devices across all areas of their lives.

According to the bi-annual Eircom household sentiment survey, 86 per cent of Irish adults now have access to a portable internet-enabled device with over two million people – or 61 per cent of the population now using smartphones.

The numbers using tablets has grown by 60 per cent to 1.4 million in the last six months while digital commuting has become the norm with three quarters of commuters describing the impact technology is having on their journeys to and from work as positive.

Children as young as 10 are now having an influence on the technology bought in Irish homes while the concept of ‘sharenting’ - or the sharing of family memories online – is a new phenomenon although only 5 per cent of the population are prepared to admit they do it.

One reason why the nationwide household survey of 1,000 Irish people indicates a reluctance on the part of parents to admit sharing details of the children’s milestones – however small – online is an awareness that it can frustrate others.

The average number of online devices in the home has increased from three in February 2013 to four in February 2014, with those aged between 16 and 24 year now having access to an average of six potential online devices in the household.

This growth is largely due to the surge in the tablet market– six months ago only 25 per cent of Irish people owned a tablet while the latest survey shows that number climbing to 40 per cent with a further 16 cent of those polled saying they plan to buy one this year.

The survey concludes that the younger generations are the nation’s early adopters when it comes to technology - and far more informed than their parents, with 83 per cent of parents agreeing that their children know more about technology than they do; rising to 92 per cent amongst parents of children aged between 13 and 17.

The growing reliance on technology is actually now enabling better relationships with friends, families and partners, as opposed to impinging on them, the survey claims.

It says an overwhelming 83 per cent of respondents believe technology has positively influenced their relationships with their friends, while positive sentiment slipped slightly for partners, with 73 per cent revealing that technology had benefited their relationship.

The research indicates that family life has become more harmonious, as 80 per cent of parents with children aged between 5 and 17 feel that technology helps to keep them amused and more than half of the population revealing that it allows for a choice of media consumption in the home.