Given the amount of time we spend on our smartphones, tablets and computers, an unconnected world would be anathema to many of us.

Estimates place the number of internet users worldwide in the region of 3.6 billion – around half the world’s population – while Facebook has more than 2 billion active monthly users.

Ipsos surveyed more than 18,000 people across 23 countries and two thirds said they couldn’t imagine life without the internet.

However, some nationalities appear to be especially reliant on the internet – 82% of Indians surveyed said they couldn’t imagine an offline life. India has the second highest number of internet users worldwide by headcount, although at 635.8 million this accounts for only 26% of the population.

The UK, while having fewer internet users than more populous countries such as India, China, the US and Brazil, was placed second, with 78% unable to contemplate getting by without it.

China, which has the highest number of internet users of any country – 731 million as of March 2017 – is third, with 77%.

Digital downtime

Millennials and the post-millennial generation are more connected than any other age group, but the rise of social media has coincided with increased levels of depression, anxiety and loneliness among young people.

In the UK adults now spend an average of 25 hours online per week, up from nine hours in 2005. This figure increased to 29 hours for young people aged 16-24, according to a survey by the country’s communications regulator Ofcom.

The study found that more than a third of UK internet users did a “digital detox” at some point last year, and the age group most likely to take a break were 16 to 24 year olds.

As a result of their digital detox, more than a third said they felt more productive, almost a third found it liberating and a quarter enjoyed life more. Although 16% said they experienced a “fear of missing out”, known as FOMO, and 15% felt lost and 14% cut off.