Nearly half of people use phones and computers to communicate with people in the same house rather than talking face-to-face, a new UK study has found.

Around 45 per cent people admitted that they use phone calls, text messages, tweets and emails rather than bothering to go into the next room to talk to other members of the household.

Researchers found that more than one in five — 22 per cent — people prefer to speak on the phone or on social media such as Facebook and Twitter rather than face-to-face, the ’Daily Mail’ reported.

Three-quarters (73 per cent) of the UK population would struggle to go for just one day without gadgets such as phones, laptops and MP3 players, the Halifax Insurance Digital Home Index revealed.

Experts warn the rise in the number of portable devices has created a generation which cannot switch off, with 25 per cent of the population admitting they check their emails and messages in bed and one in ten in the bathroom.

The poll of 2,500 adults found that twice as many people admitted that the item they would least like to lose was their smartphone than their wedding or engagement ring.

On average British women each own 4,058 pounds worth of technology devices, while males own 4,294 pounds each.

Over-reliance on technology is becoming a problem for all age groups and leading to the breakdown of relationships, Psychologist Dr Aric Sigman warned.

“As the amount of time spent looking at a screen or plugging in increases, the amount of time spent on direct eye-to-eye contact and developing real life relationships inevitably decreases,” Sigman said.

“By the age of seven years, the average child born today will have spent one full year of 24 hour days watching screen technology; by the time they reach 80 they will have spent almost 18 years of 24 hour days watching non-work related screen technology. That’s a quarter of their lives.

“The over-use of technology is an issue affecting all age groups; from young adults, for whom technology is now a central part of life, to parents who will be experiencing both how their over-use of technology affects them individually and how it creates barriers to family interaction,” he said.

(This article was published on February 18, 2013)
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