THE internet has topped a list of modern-day essentials that Britons have said they cannot do without.
A bath or shower and a television came second and third on the list, leaving comforts such as a daily coffee and make-up further down.
Just under half of those polled – 48 per cent – said they would be happier without seeing their friends and family than using the internet.
And one in eight – 12 per cent – admitted that they could forego food for longer than they could go without logging on to social media sites.
Just over half – 51 per cent – also said they could comfortably go longer without seeing their friends than using their mobile phone.
Direct Line home insurance, which commissioned the research, compared the length of time respondents could comfortably be without a range of basic human essentials, such as food and water, with modern day technologies and found for many the latter was of greater importance.
Katie Lomas, head of Direct Line Home Insurance, which commissioned the research, said technology now dominates most people’s essential daily uses.
“What we deem to be ‘essential’ is an extremely personal choice, and something that varies between individuals.
“For the average person, technology now dominates their list of essential daily comforts, perhaps because we are so reliant upon these items and enjoy the luxury of being connected.
“Whether it’s a laptop, washing machine or a set of golf clubs, our essentials service allows us to understand and prioritise the items that are fundamental to our customers’ day to day living.
“By allowing them to choose how, when and where these items are replaced, it enables us to offer a personalised service without the additional premium.”
Psychotherapist Christine Webber said: “If we didn’t know already, we certainly know now, from Direct Line’s research, just how vital the internet has become in our day-to-day lives.
“The ability to check facts and find information – as well as be in touch via social media with friends and family wherever they are in the world – has become our Number One essential for 21st century living.
“I am pleased though to see that a bath comes second in our list of essential items.
“There are few situations or worries in life that cannot be improved - at least to some extent – by soaking in a hot and fragrant bathtub.”
“People lead stressful lives these days, so to actually identify what their essential comforts are is a useful exercise.
“Having a ‘go to’ activity or object that always delivers good feelings for us, can be a source of great comfort.”
Direct Line’s study highlighted that for many people, the amount of time they could comfortably be without technology was very limited.
One in eight (13 per cent) felt they couldn’t comfortably go more than an hour without their mobile phone and similar numbers said the same about access to the internet. TV (eight per cent), laptops and computers (eight per cent), social media (six per cent) and music players (five per cent) were also highlighted as things they wouldn’t wish to go more than 60 minutes without.
Other, non-digital items people said they could not live without included car, pets, books, make up, comfy sofas and chocolate.
The question of whether spending excess time on the internet could be good for you, was raised this week after a university in America has launched a new degree programme where students will be able to study ‘time wasting on the internet’.
The University of Pennyslvania hit the headlines across the globe after announcing that from next year, students on the new course will attend a weekly three-hour seminar where they be restricted to doing anything other than use social media and chat rooms.
The course is run by the University’s Department of English and the resulting work would be compiled to create ‘substantial works of literature’.
Students would also be required to read texts on the history of time wasting by music theorist John Cage.
The full ‘essentials’ list:
1. The internet / wifi
2. Bath / shower
4. Laptop / tablet / iPad
6. Mobile phone / smart phone
7. Pet cat or dog
8. Washing machine
11. Book(s) /eReader /Kindle
12. Comfy sofa or chair
13. Make up