Half of Britons visited adult websites last year, regulator says

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LONDON (Reuters) – About half of UK adults visited a pornographic website or app in 2020, a year in which the COVID pandemic has caused more activity of all kinds to move online, said Wednesday the media regulator Ofcom.

Around 26 million Britons visited an adult website or app in September 2020, the largest, Pornhub, attracting around a third of adults online, accounting for half of all UK men and 16% of UK women, has Ofcom said in its annual survey of online habits.

Ofcom said it has started research into adult content as part of its new duty to regulate UK-based video sharing platforms and as it prepares to take on security responsibilities online.

Internet use increased last year as closures imposed to limit coronavirus work, education, socialization, entertainment and shopping options were reduced, according to the investigation.

The average time spent online on smartphones, tablets and computers has increased to 3 hours and 37 minutes per day, nine minutes more than in 2019 and over an hour more than in Germany and France, and 30 minutes more than in Spain.

Another hour and 21 minutes was spent watching services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer on TVs, Ofcom said.

Social video sites and apps were used by almost all (97%) of UK adult internet users and 93% of 3-4 year olds, according to the survey.

Young adults were the heaviest users of social video, with 18-24 year olds spending an average of 1 hour 16 minutes per day on YouTube in September, an increase of 11 minutes since 2019.

But rival TikTok, a video-sharing social media site, saw the biggest jump in terms of users and usage during the pandemic.

Its users increased from 3 million in September 2019 to 14 million in March 2021, while 18-24 year olds more than doubled their time spent on the platform during the year until September 2020, from 17 minutes at 38 minutes.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Mark Heinrich



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