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Pandemic drove two out of three Indians to online addiction

The startling data comes from a new global study by NortonLifeLock examining consumers’ at-home online behaviours, which included Indian participants 

The majority of Indian adults surveyed agreed that excessive screentime negatively impacts their physical and mental health, (Pexels)

In a study conducted online by The Harris Poll among 1,000-plus Indian adults, 2 out of 3 adult Indians surveyed (66%) said they have become addicted to being online as a result of the pandemic, while 8 in 10 (82%) said that the amount of time they spent on screens, aside from educational or work purposes, has increased significantly during the covid-19 pandemic. On average, adults in India surveyed reported spending 4.4 hours a day in front of screens, outside of work or educational time; 84% of those surveyed said smartphones are the most common device they are spending too much time on.

The study, commissioned by NortonLifeLock, a global leader in consumer cyber safety, is part of a new global study examining consumers’ at-home online behaviours. The findings from the India segment of the research show that 2 in 3 Indians surveyed (66%) say they have become addicted to being online as a result of the pandemic.

The majority of Indian adults surveyed (74%) agree that the amount of time they spend in front of a screen negatively impacts their physical health, while more than half (55%) say it negatively impacts their mental health. Around 76% said they are trying to limit their screen time by engaging in activities such as hiking or spending time with friends.

“It is understandable that the pandemic has increased our dependence on screens for activities that could otherwise have been done offline. It is important for every individual, however, to find a healthy balance between their on-screen and off-screen time so that their health and, more importantly, their children’s health is not adversely impacted,” said Ritesh Chopra, Director Sales and Field Marketing, India & SAARC Countries, NortonLifeLock. “Meanwhile, the online landscape has seen an increase in the numbers and types of cyber threats. Users must take great care of how and where they use their connected devices. Convenience should not come at the cost of security. Today, the loss of personal or confidential information can have very serious repercussions indeed. It is important for parents to be aware of this fact and to educate their children on the need for cyber safety.”

The research was conducted online in India by The Harris Poll on behalf of NortonLifeLock among 1,004 adults aged 18+. The survey was conducted between May 20 and June 8, 2021. Data are weighted where necessary by age, gender, region, and education to bring them in line with their actual proportions among those who are online. 

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