Internet is 'top threat to family harmony'

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The Independent Online

The internet has now replaced the remote control as the number one threat to domestic harmony, according to a new survey by YouGov.

Couples and families are increasingly at loggerheads over who gets access to the net. With more than half of the homes in Britain now wired up to the net - 12.6 million - and half of those with a high-speed broadband connection, the survey of 2,000 people found that more than a third of couples argued over who used the net. Twice as many women as men admitted that internet surfing is leading to tension in the relationship.

Arguments abound, with 42 per cent of people complaining that they had to wait their turn to use the net at home, and 36 per cent saying that at peak times two or more members of the household would be waiting their turn.

The survey, commissioned by the broadband company Bulldog, also points to how the internet is becoming an integral part of life for all ages. Children want to use the net for downloading music; adults want to use it to work and shop. One in 10 admitted they spend four hours a day or more on the web at home, and most of those are in the over-55 age bracket.

Andrew Craig, editor of Web User magazine, said: "In the same way television used to dominate family life, so the internet is poised to do so at present and in the future."

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